Self Isolation Explained: Definition, Guidelines, and Rules

The following article was updated on December 6, 2021.

Self Isolation phrase formed using individual scrabble letters
“Self Isolation” formed with scrabble letters

Current Government Update (Nov 30)

Government of Canada has announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of the COVID-19 and its variants in Canada related to international travel.

As of November 30, all foreign nationals (including students and workers) who have travelled to South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Egypt, Nigeria, Malawi or Namibia in the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada until January 31, 2022.

In the coming days, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.

Unvaccinated travellers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days.

Defining Self Isolation

What is self isolation?

Self isolation is the process of separating oneself from others. In the case of COVID-19, the purpose of self-isolation is to protect others from being affected by the disease.

The Government of Canada requires non vaccinated travelers to complete a 14-day mandatory self isolation regardless of their exposure to the coronavirus. While individuals who have been exposed to the virus may not show symptoms, they can still play a role in spreading the disease. Hence, it is important to limit contact with others and monitor for delayed symptoms during this period.

When should someone self-quarantine?

As of December 2021, it is still mandatory to quarantine in Canada if you are not fully vaccinated. See if you are qualified as a fully vaccinated traveler in Canada.

You also need to self-quarantine if you or someone in your household:

  • Had close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • Have one or more of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, fatigue (see the full list of symptoms)
  • Have been contacted by the public health services that you may be exposed to the virus.

Please contact your public health authorities immediately if you show coronavirus symptoms during quarantine. For BC Residents, call 811 for BC Centre for Disease Control.

Planning Your Trip to Canada

Photo by Jaimie Harmsen on Unsplash
Who can travel to Canada?

Find out if you are eligible to travel to Canada.

The following can enter Canada:

  • All Canadian citizens and PR holders,
  • People registered under the Indian Act
  • Protected persons (refugee status)
  • All other foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by Canada.
Pre-Entry Tests

All travelers (including Canadian citizens) must provide:

Who is a fully-vaccinated traveler?

Accepted vaccines:

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
Moderna (mRNA-1273)
AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

Vaccines not currently accepted for fully vaccinated status in Canada:

Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV)
Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac)
Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona)
Other

If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally to the ArriveCAN application, and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

Entering Canada

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

Checklist for fully-vaccinated travelers:

  • Show pre-entry molecular test
  • Use ArriveCAN (prior to and upon entry)
  • Take an arrival test
  • Quarantine while waiting for test results
  • Take a COVID test on the 8th day of your arrival

Checklist for non-vaccinated travelers:

  • Show pre-entry molecular test
  • Use ArriveCAN (prior to and upon entry)
  • Take an arrival test
  • Take a COVID test on the 8th day of your arrival
  • Quarantine for 14 days regardless of your test results

Self Isolation Guidelines for Canada

How long should someone diagnosed with COVID-19 isolate?

You must isolate and remain in isolation for 14 days upon showing initial symptoms or receiving your health assessment results (testing positive). You must not leave your isolation place until completing the quarantine period.

Do I have to get tested after entering Canada?

Arrival Tests

In the coming days, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.

Unvaccinated travellers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. (source)

Learn more: COVID-19 Travel, Testing, Borders.

Where to Quarantine (Self-Isolate)

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Do I still need to self isolate if I received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination?

At this time, if you are not fully vaccinated, you must comply with the 14-day self isolation rule to enter Canada. See updates here.

Fully vaccinated travellers can check the current government updates to determine the period of their self isolation (if any).

GEC Granville Self Isolation Package

At GEC Granville Suites, we offer Self Isolation Packages for our visitors, guaranteeing a budget-friendly and comfortable stay. See pricing and details.

Read our COVID-19 Update here.

Additionally, GEC Granville Suites offer to extend your stay at our hotel after your isolation period is over, or book at one of our student housing facilities closest to your educational institution across Vancouver (GEC Viva, GEC Pearson, GEC Marine Gateway, GEC Burnaby Heights).

Image of a lighthouse on a cliff by the ocean, seen from afar. The waves hit the rocks alongside the lighthouse.
A Lighthouse in Canada

Support During Self Isolation

How can GEC support me during my self isolation period?

GEC currently operates several self isolation suites for the general public as well as students arriving in Canada. We offer the following isolation services:

  • Self Isolation Plan: BC requires all international travelers to complete a self isolation plan. Once your GEC booking is complete, we will send you a confirmation letter, which you can provide when entering the Canadian border.
  • Airport Pick-Up: Our partner Beaton’s Meet & Greet provides safe and professional transportation services from YVR Airport to GEC Granville Suites for our guests and students. Service starts at $70 per trip.
  • Canadian SIM Card and Phone Plans: We partnered with PhoneBox to set up Canadian phone plans for our international guests and students. SIM cards can ship to your home country or GEC. You can also include your number on your self-isolation plan. Phone plans start at $35 per month.
  • Food and Grocery Delivery: The 24-hour front desk staff will bring food and grocery deliveries to your door. You are welcome to order groceries to your room ahead of time; our team will be available to stock your suite prior to your arrival.
  • Free Care Package: Our complimentary package includes all your isolation needs— face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, snacks, bottled water, and toiletries.
  • Virtual Events: GEC hosts free virtual events and activities, so you can stay up to date even when self isolating. Keep an eye out for our event invitations in the email newsletter (sign up here) or on our social media.

We hope the information in this article is useful in preparing you for your travels. We are looking forward to hosting you here at GEC. Safe travels and see you soon!

Direct us questions at hello@gecliving.com

Previous Updates

October 22, 2021

First, find out if you are eligible to travel to Canada.

The following can enter Canada:

  • All Canadian citizens and PR holders,
  • People registered under the Indian Act
  • Protected persons (refugee status)
  • All other foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by Canada.

It is still mandatory to quarantine in Canada if you are not fully vaccinated. Even if you received two vaccine shots, note that the vaccine needs to be accepted in Canada. See if you are qualified as a fully vaccinated traveler in Canada.

You also need to self-quarantine if you or someone in your household:

  • Had close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • Have one or more of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, fatigue (see the full list of symptoms)
  • Have been contacted by the public health services that you may be exposed to the virus.

Please contact your public health authorities immediately if you show coronavirus symptoms during quarantine. For BC Residents, call 811 for BC Centre for Disease Control.

You must isolate and remain in isolation for 14 days upon showing initial symptoms or receiving your health assessment results (testing positive). You must not leave your isolation place until completing the quarantine period.

All travelers (including Canadian citizens) must provide:

Currently, Canada follows a randomized system for tests. You may be randomly selected and notified by the border officers that you must take a randomized test.

If selected for a randomized test, you:

  • Must take the arrival test upon entry to Canada, before leaving the airport.
  • May need to complete a home test kit within 24 hours of your arrival in Canada.
  • Can continue travelling without receiving your results

*The tests are free; you do not need to pay for testing.

Accepted vaccines:

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
Moderna (mRNA-1273)
AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

Vaccines not currently accepted for fully vaccinated status in Canada:

Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV)
Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac)
Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV, Sinopharm-Wuhan)
Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona)
Other

If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

At this time, if you are not fully vaccinated, you must comply with the 14-day self isolation rule to enter Canada. This means you will need to complete the 14-day self-isolation period whether you are vaccinated or not. See updates here.

As of September, 2021, fully vaccinated international travelers will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine. Read more here.

Sept 9, 2021

As of September 7, 2021, the following can enter Canada:

  • All Canadian citizens and PR holders,
  • All American citizens and PR holders who arrive from the US,
  • French citizens who currently reside in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon,
  • All other foreign nationals who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption.

As of September 7, 2021. it is mandatory to quarantine if you are not fully vaccinated. Please note that the vaccine needs to be accepted in Canada. See the full list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

You also need to self-quarantine if you or someone in your household:

  • Had close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • Have one or more of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, fatigue (see the full list of symptoms)
  • Have been contacted by the public health services that you may be exposed to the virus.

Please contact your public health authorities immediately if you show coronavirus symptoms during quarantine. For BC Residents, call 811 for BC Centre for Disease Control.

You must isolate and remain in isolation for 14 days upon showing initial symptoms or receiving your health assessment results (testing positive). You must not leave your isolation place until completing the quarantine period.

As of September 7, 2021, Canada follows a randomized system for tests. You may be randomly selected and notified by the border officers that you must take a randomized test.*

If selected for a randomized test, you:

  • Must take the arrival test upon entry to Canada, before leaving the airport.
  • May need to complete a home test kit within 24 hours of your arrival in Canada.
  • Can continue travelling without receiving your results

*The tests are free; you do not need to pay for testing.

Accepted vaccines:

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
Moderna (mRNA-1273)
AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

Vaccines not currently accepted for fully vaccinated status in Canada:

Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV)
Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac)
Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV, Sinopharm-Wuhan)
Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona)
Other

If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

Learn More.

The government currently requires unvaccinated air travelers to stay at a government-authorized hotel for 3-nights (check for updates). Travelers can complete the rest of their isolation (11 nights)  in their local homes or a different hotel. The total isolation period is 14 days for travelers.

On average, a government-authorized hotel costs 283 CAD + tax per night and 850 CAD + tax per 3 nights. For most people, the government authorized hotels are an expensive option for a 14-day period stay.

GEC currently operates several self isolation suites for the general public as well as students arriving in Canada. We offer the following isolation services:

  • Self Isolation Plan: BC requires all international travelers to complete a self isolation plan. Once your GEC booking is complete, we will send you a confirmation letter, which you can provide when entering the Canadian border.
  • Airport Pick-Up: Our partner Beaton’s Meet & Greet provides safe and professional transportation services from YVR Airport to GEC Granville Suites for our guests and students. Service starts at $70 per trip.
  • Canadian SIM Card and Phone Plans: We partnered with PhoneBox to set up Canadian phone plans for our international guests and students. SIM cards can ship to your home country or GEC. You can also include your number on your self-isolation plan. Phone plans start at $35 per month.
  • Food and Grocery Delivery: The 24-hour front desk staff will bring food and grocery deliveries to your door. You are welcome to order groceries to your room ahead of time; our team will be available to stock your suite prior to your arrival.
  • Free Care Package: Our complimentary package includes all your isolation needs— face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, snacks, bottled water, and toiletries.
  • Virtual Events: GEC hosts free virtual events and activities, so you can stay up to date even when self isolating. Keep an eye out for our event invitations in the email newsletter (sign up here) or on our social media.