New government vaccination and travel updates

November 26, 2021

If you are outside Canada, or if you are in Canada and planning to travel for the winter break, please review the new guidelines to inform your travel plans.

New vaccine requirements for travel announced on November 19, 2021

Starting November 30, 2021, 03:01 a.m. EST, the following COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted by the Government of Canada for travel:

  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP-CorV (Vero Cells)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received at least two (2) doses of an accepted vaccine or a mix of two (2) accepted vaccines, or at least one (1) dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 full days prior to the day you travel.

As of January 15, 2022, international students who are 18 years old and older will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into Canada.

Until January 14, 2022, international students can continue to enter the country unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, as well as take a connecting flight to their final destination that is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time of their flight to enter Canada. 

Please note: McMaster University’s vaccine mandate abides by the Provincial definition of being fully vaccinated.

Before leaving your country

  • Determine if you qualify for a quarantine exemption as a fully vaccinated traveller. Starting November 30, 2021, 3:01 a.m. EST, Canada will expand the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travellers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel.
    • Students entering Canada prior to November 30, 2021, and who are fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines on the expanded list, will be required to complete their 14-day quarantine.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you are still required to:
    • Meet pre-entry testing and all other requirements
    • Upload your proof of vaccination in English or French into ArriveCAN.
    • Have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Submit a quarantine plan in ArriveCAN and Portal, as well as meet the entry requirements under the current travel restriction policies. The final determination of your quarantine exemption is made by a government representative at the border.
  • Determine if you are eligible to travel within Canada. Non-direct flights (i.e., stopovers in Vancouver or Montreal) are impacted if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • From November 30 through to January 14, 2022, there will be a short transition period when travellers who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated will be able to travel within Canada if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of travel. If your layover in Canada is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time of your flight to enter Canada, you can use the same test you used to board the plane to Canada. 
  • Starting January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Once you arrive, please refer to McMaster’s MacCheck guidelines to ensure you are approved to attend classes.

Starting Winter 2022

Classes for the Winter 2022 academic term start on January 10, 2022. It is important that you determine if you qualify for a quarantine exemption as a fully vaccinated traveller and plan your arrival or the end of your quarantine to ensure you can attend in-person classes so that you are well positioned for academic success this Winter 2022 term.

As previously communicated, McMaster is planning to resume in-person classes in the winter term with very limited exceptions. Therefore, all Winter 2022 academic term courses may include in-person components or assessments, even if they’re listed as online or virtual. Teams across campus are also planning to ramp up on-campus student life activities so they are closer to, if not meeting, pre-pandemic capacities. This includes services and resources, events and student study and social space.

Get more support

Once you’re here, we’ll continue to support you. Check out all our supports and services for international students. And you can contact us at iss@mcmaster.ca if you have questions.