Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

No-quarantine cross-border COVID-19 vaccination trip OK with Ottawa

Canadians can drive to U.S. for COVID-19 shot and avoid quarantine, with conditions

Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.

Those conditions include having a note from a licensed health-care provider in Canada that the inoculation is medically necessary, and written proof from the licensed U.S. vaccine provider.

Quarantine regulations passed by the federal government contain an exemption for essential medical services obtained abroad. A coronavirus shot, the agency says, falls under that definition.

The exemption offers people within driving range of border states awash in vaccines a relatively simple way to get a coveted shot quickly. While supplies are ramping up in Canada, distribution in many areas remains tenuous and age and other eligibility limits remain in place.

Information on the regulations and exemption, created by federal cabinet and contained on the government’s website, was confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in an email to David Musyj, head of the Windsor Regional Hospital in the border city of Windsor, Ont.

Musyj had pressed Health Canada for answers after noting that people could easily drive over to Detroit for a shot, but having to isolate for 14 days on return would be a major obstacle.

“It does verify our interpretation of the current order in council/website information is accurate — that a COVID-19 vaccine is an ‘essential medical service or treatment,’ Musyj said. “It makes it clear the exemption is permissive.”

However, public health also said in a written exchange with Musyj that crossing the border — which remains closed to non-essential travel — for a vaccine would not be licence to tack on shopping or other activities. In addition, to qualify for an exemption, the trip has to be in a private vehicle but can include a support person.

“Very clear: You need to go to the appointment only and return immediately,” Musyj said. “Cannot stop anywhere else for anything.”

On return, health authorities said, quarantine-exempt travellers must wear a mask in public spaces at all times and keep a list of close contacts and places visited for 14 days.

Importantly, Health Canada noted U.S. border agents have final say on who they let in, and that it is up to returning travellers to provide the required documents to Canada Border Services agents for a final decision on a quarantine exemption.

“The onus is on the traveller to clearly demonstrate they meet an exemption under the order in council,” the public health agency said.

Musyj said he was still pushing for federal approval to allow an organized effort to retrieve surplus vaccines from Detroit and bring them back to Canada for use here. The same vaccines produced in Kalamazoo, Mich., are also distributed in Canada but demand in the U.S. has lagged supply.

The federal government has said millions of COVID-19 inoculation doses are set to start arriving in the coming days, but supplies remain limited in many areas.

— Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

RELATED: New head of Canada’s vaccine rollout named after predecessor accused of misconduct

border agencyCoronavirusUSA

Just Posted

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

A lift on marine border restrictions by next summer would bring an economic gain to Greater Victoria through the cruise industry. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for opening of marine borders by summer 2022

Council to ask feds to end restrictions in time to allow planning for next cruise ship season

Camper the dog was found Wednesday night by someone walking their own dog along Hollywood Crescent. She had gone missing after a violent attack on June 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Camper the dog found safe after fleeing violent van attack in Victoria

Camper was found on Hollywood Crescent Wednesday night

In January 2019, Grade 5 students from Glenlyon Norfolk School, accompanied by Grade 11 student Anastasia Castro, gave a presentation to Oak Bay council seeking a ban on plastic bags in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay set to survey businesses on single-use plastic products

Survey gathers information ahead of expected legislation on provincial, federal level

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

Most Read