Canada immigration news: Anyone who applied for a visitor visa before Sept. 7 – the day the country opened its borders to all fully-vaccinated travellers – should re-apply if their situation has changed and they are coming for one of 10 reasons, say Canadian immigration officials.
Those reasons include coming to Canada:
- to be reunited with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or a permanent resident of Canada;
- to be reunited with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily;
- to be reunited with an extended family member who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or a permanent resident of Canada;
- to visit for business (meeting, special event, training);
- to attend an end-of-life ceremony or a funeral;
- to be present during the final moments of life of a loved one;
- to provide care to a critically-ill person;
- to join a vessel as a marine crew member;
- to assume a posting as a diplomat or to travel as an accompanying immediate family member of a diplomat arriving on posting who will also be accredited in Canada, or;
- to handle the affairs of a victim of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.
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Those who applied before Sept, 7 and have already informed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that they qualify for a COVID-19 exemption do not need to submit a new application or write to the department.
“We strongly encourage you to wait until you’re eligible to travel to Canada before you submit a visitor visa application,” the IRCC notes on its website. “Travel restrictions are in place across all border crossings.”
Canada Opens Borders To Fully Vaccinated International Travellers
Ottawa re-opened the border to all fully-vaccinated travellers last week.
“Not only will this make a big difference for Canada’s travel and tourism industry and all those whose jobs depend on it, it will also make it easier for those with a Confirmation of Permanent Residence letter to come to Canada and play a role in our recovery from the pandemic,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.
With this strategy, Ottawa is hoping to be able to continue monitoring COVID-19 variants in Canada and determine the effectiveness of the variants.
The country first opened up its borders to fully-vaccinated Americans before further relaxing the travel restrictions on Sept. 7.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has described Canada’s approach to gradually re-opening the border as one “guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts.”
All travellers still have to provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
Easing of Restrictions a Boon For Canada’s Tourism Industry
“The easing of Canada’s border measures is welcome news for tourism businesses across the country, the thousands of Canadians employed by the sector and the communities who rely on it,” said Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly.
“It has been a challenging year as we balance the need to protect both the health of Canadians and our economy but tourism businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience,” she said.
Canada’s border officials take compliance with the country’s public health restrictions during the pandemic very seriously.
Quarantine Act Provides For Fines Of Up To $750,000
Under the Quarantine Act, anyone who submits false information on their vaccination status could be liable to a fine of up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment or both, and even prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery.
Violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act. This can lead to a $5,000 fine for each day of non-compliance or for each offence committed, or more serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
Non-compliant air travellers may also be subject to fines of up to $5,000 for each offence committed under the Aeronautics Act.