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New border crossing vaccine policies effective at midnight, January 14th

Photo: R&D World

Shelley Walker, CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation Canada took part in a Trucking industry stakeholder call organized by the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Transport Canada (TC) on the afternoon of January 14th to discuss vaccine mandate policies which will begin to be implemented at midnight on January 14th, and has provided Road Warrior News with the following summary.

The full “Frequently Asked Questions” document can be accessed by clicking on the grey bar, below.

As of midnight January 14th, there will be a strong emphasis on using the ArriveCAN App, those not complying can expect longer wait times. The process for unvaccinated drivers will be:

14 day quarantine from point of entry;

PCR test required 72 hrs before crossing;

Physical address required for quarantine (drivers cannot quarantine in their trucks);

Drivers may deliver their loads, then go to their quarantine location;

Drivers must adhere to public health measures while in transit: masks,washing hands and physically distancing from others. 

Boarder officers have been instructed to exercise discretion through this transition when it comes to applying fines and penalties (which may be $5000.00 pr more) for such things as arriving at the border without a PCR test or without providing their info with ArriveCan.

Officers do have the power to penalize however if they feel it is required. However, they have no discretion when it comes to the quarantine requirement when you return.

CLICK HERE to read the Full Document Frequently Asked Questions on Vaccine Mandate and Border Crossing released January 14th by CBSA, PHAC, and TC

Frequently Asked Questions – Canadian Vaccination Requirements

Q1.      What is considered “fully vaccinated” to meet the requirements of the Canadian border vaccination mandate?

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, you must:

  • have received at least 2 doses of a vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of 2 accepted vaccines
    • or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • have received your second dose at least 14 full days before you enter Canada

Information on what is considered fully vaccinated can be found here.

Q2.      What vaccinations have been approved to satisfy proof of vaccination entry requirements into Canada?

Vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to and within Canada:

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

More info is available here.

Q3.      What type of proof of vaccination documentation will be accepted to enter Canada? // If a Canadian driver was vaccinated in the US, will their proof of vaccination documents be accepted by Canadian officials?

Canada accepts any valid proof of vaccination, including those issued by Canadian provinces and territories, as well as international proof of vaccination documents.

ArriveCAN accepts a variety of proof of vaccination documents, including those issued in Canada and abroad.  

A valid proof of vaccination must have the following data elements:

  • the name of the person who received the vaccine;
  • the name of the government or the name of the entity;
  • the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was administered; and
  • the dates when the vaccine was administered or, if the evidence is one document issued for two doses and the document only specifies the date when the most recent dose was administered, that date.

The proof of vaccination must be in either French or English, or accompanied by a certified translation. More information is available here.

Q4.      If a Canadian driver was vaccinated in the US, will their proof of vaccination documents be accepted by Canadian officials?

Yes, Canada is accepting international proof of vaccination documents to meet entry requirements

Q5.      If drivers are unable to submit/upload their data electronically through ArriveCAN, will paper documentation or other alternatives be accepted at the border?

All efforts must be made to submit vaccination evidence using ArriveCAN. All drivers who have submitted their vaccination evidence using ArriveCAN, as well as those who experience problems, must carry paper or digital copies of valid vaccination evidence for presentation at the border or if requested by public health officials while in Canada.

Q6.      What measures are being put in place to ensure that companies/drivers are effectively deterred from using fraudulent proof of vaccination documentation?

The Government of Canada is aware that some travellers may attempt to use fraudulent documentation when seeking entry to Canada. The CBSA and PHAC work closely to ensure only valid proof of vaccine documents are accepted. Additionally, the Government works closely with domestic and international partners to detect and intercept fraudulent documents. The CBSA is specialized in the detection of fraudulent documents with a well-developed global network that helps to identify and intercept suspected fraud.

The government’s assessment and verification of vaccine credentials is a multi-step approach, including the attestation and upload of vaccination credentials through ArriveCAN, automated checks using advanced technology to determine whether the documents provided meet the expected characteristics of a vaccination credential, and the extensive training of border services officers who examine physical vaccination receipts and records when necessary.

Suspected fraudulent documents may be seized at the border and subject to a post-border investigation. PHAC may also refer a case to police in the jurisdiction involved, for potential criminal charges or fines pursuant to the Quarantine Act.

Q7.      Have any contingencies been setup to assist with potential delays with ArriveCAN/vaccination documents being verified at the border?

As the new measures are rolled out on January 15th, truck drivers may experience delays at ports of entry due to the modified public health measures. Truck drivers can minimize delays by ensuring they have submitted the required information, including vaccination evidence and information using ArriveCAN.

In addition, foreign national truck drivers should ensure they meet the entry/eligibility requirements to be admitted into Canada before heading to the border.

The CBSA will monitor volumes and wait times and be prepared to allocate resources and adjust staffing levels to minimize processing times and potential delays at our ports of entry.

The CBSA can provide assurances that it will have in place mechanisms at ports of entry to facilitate cross border trucking as much as possible within the limits of the Government of Canada Orders in Council and related regulations.

The CBSA will not compromise the health and safety of Canadians for the sake of border wait times.

Q8.      Is there a support line for drivers who experience difficulties with ArriveCAN before crossing the border?

Drivers who require support can contact the ArriveCAN support line:

  • Telephone: 1-833-283-7403 (toll-free from Canada or the U.S)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-465-7735 (Canada and U.S. only)
  • From outside Canada or the U.S.: 613-954-8485

            Drivers should check the ArriveCAN home page and ArriveCAN help page before contacting the support line. These pages include most-requested information, such as:

Q.9      If an unvaccinated truck driver left Canada before January 15th, and returns after the mandate takes effect, will they still be admissible and/or subject to fines?

A truck driver with a right of entry who is not fully vaccinated will not be denied entry into Canada – Canadian citizens, persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act and permanent residents may enter Canada by right.

As of January 15th, unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers arriving at the border:

  • Must be in possession of a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test, which include:
    • a negative result for a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed outside Canada on a specimen collected no more than 72 hours before entering Canada; or
    • a positive result for a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before entering Canada.
  • Will be required to quarantine at a suitable location for 14 days; and
  • Will be required to take a test on the day they arrive in Canada and another on day 8 of their quarantine.

In addition, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated American truck drivers will be prohibited entry into Canada.

Q10.    Provinces across Canada have changed mandatory isolation guidelines for those infected with COVID, or showing COVID symptoms, allowing individuals to return to work if they are asymptomatic after 5 days. If a cross-border driver has contracted COVID and has isolated for at least 5 days without symptoms, are they admissible to cross the Canada-US border for work purposes?

Under the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and other Obligations) truck drivers who are asymptomatic when entering Canada, however develop symptoms or become COVID positive within 14 days of entry into Canada are required to immediately:

  • isolate for 10 days;
  • report within 24 hours to the Public Health Agency of Canada; and
  • contact the appropriate public health authority and follow their instructions.

Truck drivers who become symptomatic or COVID positive after 14 days of their last entry into Canada are subject to provincial and territorial requirements and required to follow the relevant jurisdictional obligations. 

Q11.    Can I use the ArriveCAN app/platform through my in-cab or mobile fleet management system?

The Government of Canada has learned that some fleets are reporting that recent software updates to ArriveCAN have made the platform incompatible with some in-cab devices/systems. Companies should contact their service providers to discuss the potential to integrate ArriveCAN with these systems further.

Q12.    Will truck drivers have to submit a negative PCR test for re-entry into Canada?

Fully vaccinated persons in the trade or transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods or people, including truck drivers, who cross the border while performing their duties are continue to be exempt from pre-arrival testing requirements.

As of January 15th, unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers arriving at the border:

  • Must be in possession of a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test, which include:
    • a negative result for a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed outside Canada on a specimen collected no more than 72 hours before entering Canada; or
    • a positive result for a COVID-19 molecular test that was performed on a specimen collected at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before entering Canada.
  • Will be required to quarantine at a suitable location for 14 days; and
  • Will be required to take a test on the day they arrive in Canada and another on day 8 of their quarantine.

Q13.    What are the consequences if an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated driver with a right of entry is unable to access a PCR pre-arrival test, or is unable to obtain results within the prescribed 72 hour window?

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated drivers with a right of entry who enter Canada without a valid pre-arrival test will be considered non-compliant and may be subject to enforcement action.

Individuals who do not abide by the requirements could be subject to enforcement action up to and including fines.

Q14.    Is COVID testing be an acceptable alternative to proof of vaccination for truck drivers that cross the border?

COVID testing, or proof of negative test is not an acceptable alternative to proof of vaccination for entry into Canada.

Q15.    Are US drivers subject to the Canadian border vaccination mandate?

Yes, US truck drivers entering the country will also be required to show proof of vaccination through ArriveCAN.

While they must be vaccinated to enter Canada, they remain exempt from the pre-arrival testing requirement, and if fully vaccinated, the remain exempt from the quarantine and in-Canada testing requirements.

As of January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated American truck drivers will be prohibited entry into Canada.

Q16.    What will happen to US drivers that do not meet admissibility requirements to enter Canada?

US drivers that do not meet admissibility requirements, including not having proof of full vaccination will be prohibited entry and have their trucks returned to the US.

Q17.    Is the Government of Canada considering updating proof of vaccination requirements to include booster or third doses of vaccines to be declared “fully vaccinated”?

The Government of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to prioritize the health and safety of Canadians. As vaccination levels, case counts and hospitalization rates evolve, the Government of Canada will continue to consider further targeted measures at the borders—and when to lift or adjust them—to keep Canadians safe.

All border measures will continue to be evaluated and are subject to adjustments based on the latest science, evidence, and data.

Q18.    What is considered a suitable quarantine location for an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated truck driver with a right of entry?  // What do they do with their load when they are directed to quarantine?

A suitable place of quarantine will allow the individual to avoid all contact with other people in the household who you did not travel with, there are no vulnerable people at the location, it is not a group living arrangements, you are able to have food, medicine, and other life necessities delivered to your location while in quarantine.


A suitable place of quarantine has a physical address where a PHAC Officer may visit to ensure compliance.

Q19.    What does an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign national truck driver do with their load when they are denied entry to Canada/directed back to the U.S.?

As recently announced in Government of Canada COVID19 border measures, foreign national truck drivers who are inadmissible to Canada will be processed at the port of entry and they, their truck and the cargo will immediately be directed back to the United States.  As part of ongoing efforts to mitigate congestion, ports of entry employ  a range of methods to turn inadmissible trucks around based upon the port layout, highway layout, traffic conditions and public and CBSA officer safety.  In some cases trucks may be escorted, or authorized to travel to the nearest highway location where they can safely turn around and return to the United States.

Q20.    Are truck drivers delivering essential medical supplies (e.g. medical gasses) exempt from vaccination requirements, as well as testing and quarantine rules?

            Partially vaccinated and not-fully vaccinated foreign national truck drivers delivering essential medical supplies (e.g. medical gasses) are exempt from the prohibition on entry, meaning they are eligible to enter Canada. They remain exempt from pre-arrival testing, quarantine and in-Canada testing.

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