THIS IS NOT AN EXEMPTION LETTER
OIC 50: 2021-0313
Dear Alan Willaert,
Thank you for your correspondence seeking an exemption from the COVID-19 related travel restrictions on behalf of performers travelling to the US for work. Please accept our apologies for our delayed response.
The Government of Canada implemented restrictions, testing requirements and quarantine measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Travel plans could be subject to significant change as new measures come into effect.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is of the opinion that the performers may be exempt from pre-entry or arrival testing, or quarantine requirements. PHAC’s opinion is based on the Emergency Orders as they currently exist.
COVID-19 Testing, Hotel and Quarantine Requirements
The Emergency Order, referred to as Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations (updated April 21, 2021) requires all travellers, regardless of citizenship, to provide proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test result prior to entry into Canada. Upon entry, all travellers are also required to take a test on arrival (at the airport or land border crossing), and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
Air travellers, with limited exceptions, must provide evidence of a prepaid, three-night stay at a Government-Authorized Accommodation (hotel) prior to their entry. Travellers need to stay at their reserved accommodation while they await the results of their arrival test, and are also required to pay for their hotel and associated costs for food, cleaning and security. Answers to frequently asked questions about the mandatory hotel stopover can be found here.
There are certain exemptions from testing and quarantine, but these are limited to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As per the Order, the following persons are exempt:
- Persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment, including critical infrastructure workers (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing), provided they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the first 14 days after their entry to Canada
In order to be exempt upon entry, travellers must demonstrate they are travelling across the border to their normal place of employment (i.e. same company, same work site, etc.) from their residence on a regular basis (i.e. daily, weekly, or following a rotational schedule). Occasional travel to attend meetings or other work-related activities does not meet this group exemption.
Based on this information, the performers may qualify for an exemption from pre-entry or arrival testing, or quarantine requirements, including the three-night hotel stopover, provided they demonstrate the regularity and frequency of their work related travel.
As per this Order, exempt travellers must wear a mask in public settings, even if physical distancing can be maintained. In addition, they must maintain a list of all close contacts during the 14 days post-entry into Canada. If symptoms develop or further guidance is needed, travellers are encouraged to contact their local public health authority.
Please note that travellers do not require a letter of interpretation from PHAC in order to be exempt from Emergency Orders. It is the traveller’s responsibility to demonstrate that they qualify for an exemption from mandatory testing or quarantine measures. Government representatives at the border use the information available at the time of entry to determine what instructions will be provided to a traveller regarding their public health obligations. Further details on documents needed can be found here under the heading “Who is exempt from quarantine”.
Travellers are advised to refer to the following driving or flying to Canada checklists to understand all the travel requirements, and the following Travel web page for additional information related to testing, exemptions, quarantine requirements and ArriveCAN. (https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-travel.)
We hope that this information assists you in understanding the Government of Canada’s position at this time.
Emergency Orders and Policy Interpretation Team
Public Health Agency of Canada
Équipe des décrets d’urgence et interprétation des politiques
Agence de la santé publique du Canada