The government of Canada has taken a very proactive approach to COVID-19 and takes border security seriously. Yesterday it was revealed that two travelers from he US who provided fake proof of vaccinations and test results, in addition to failing to comply with quarantine rules upon landing in Toronto have been fined nearly $20,000 each. Ouch.
Here’s the background
On July 5, 2021, the Government of Canada implemented some exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who are currently eligible to enter Canada. Fully vaccinated travellers who wish to be considered for the eased quarantine and testing requirements must meet all criteria, including the electronic submission of their proof of vaccination documentation into ArriveCAN prior to arrival at the port of entry.
All travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions. Providing false information and/or documents to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada or making false statements or presenting fraudulent documents, such as vaccination credentials, is a serious offence and may result in fines and/or criminal charges.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has issued fines to two passengers arriving in Toronto from the United States the week of July 18, 2021, for non-compliance with entry requirements.
Each traveller received four fines—a total of $19,720 for each traveller—for providing false information related to proof of vaccination credentials and pre-departure tests, as well as, for non-compliance with the requirement to stay at a government-authorized accommodation and on-arrival testing requirements.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) works closely with domestic and international partners to detect and intercept fraudulent documents. The CBSA also works with PHAC to ensure only valid proof of vaccine documents are accepted.
Violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could 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.
For all travellers coming to Canada, it is important to be informed and to plan in advance. It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they are eligible to enter Canada and that they meet all of the mandatory requirements.
The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants of concern.
- A person who submits false information on vaccination status could be subject to a fine of up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment or both, under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery.
- The assessment and verification of vaccine credentials includes the attestation and upload of vaccination credentials through ArriveCAN, which performs automated checks to determine whether the documents provided meet the required vaccination credentials, and the training of border services officers who examine physical and electronic vaccination receipts and records.
- The Government of Canada continues to actively participate in discussions with the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and through the G7 on proof of vaccination credentials for international travel.