Foreign Nationals Entering Canada for Business or Employment in 2022

The Government of Canada will be changing how they deal with foreign nationals entering Canada in light of the ongoing evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022.

As matters currently stand, individuals with business to transact in Canada, or foreign nationals who are employed in Canada can enter if they are vaccinated with little trouble.  For unvaccinated foreign nationals who wish to enter Canada for employment or business, entry into Canada is allowed so long as individuals quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival and 8 days thereafter with negative results.  

Changes to Rules for Foreign Nationals Entering Canada

However, changes are coming for the rules governing entry into Canada for foreign nationals and as of January 15, 2022 entry will become much more restrictive to foreign companies looking to do business in the Canadian market.  Most foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada will only be allowed entry into the country if they are fully vaccinated with 2 doses of, or a combination of 2 doses of, the following vaccines (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson):

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson – 1 dose
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

This will include individuals travelling for work purposes, individuals with valid work permits, temporary foreign workers, and essential services providers, including truck drivers.  There are extremely few exceptions to the new changes as they impact employment matters, these being marine crew members and agriculture and food processing workers.  

These new restrictions on entry for foreign nationals will undoubtedly cause significant interruption for companies who deal in Canadian markets or who have employees with valid Canadian work permits but who are not vaccinated as per the current Canadian standard.  This is especially so in a world where vaccine access is not equal from country to country, nor across the socio-economic strata.

One obvious area of impact will be the cross-border supply chain with the United States of America, which relies heavily on truck drivers to ferry goods across the border.  Currently truck drivers are afforded leeway which will not continue as of January 15, 2022 and the resulting impact to a number of industries, such as manufacturing, construction, retail, hospitality and food services, amongst others, is all but guaranteed in the short term.  

Foreign National Barred from Entry Into Canada

It should be noted that regardless of the upcoming changes in 2022, in light of the recent emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, as of today’s date foreign nationals will be barred from entry into Canada, regardless of vaccine status, if they have been in the following countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival to Canada:

  • Botswana
  • Egypt
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

The lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP can assist companies of all sizes navigate the ever-changing rules regarding COVID-19 and the corresponding effects to conducting business and operating a workplace without interruption.  Contact us today if you would like insight into the upcoming changes to schedule a meeting to discuss the impact on your business.  

 

Contributing Advisors