Canada fines 2 travellers $27,000 each for false Covid-19 vaccination documents

OTTAWA (NYTIMES) – Two Canadian citizens who recently travelled from the United States to Toronto were fined nearly US$20,000 (S$27,000) each by the Public Health Agency of Canada for providing false proof of vaccination documents.

The Canadian government on Friday (July 30) announced that the travellers were each fined a total of US$19,720 for the false proof of vaccination and pre-departure coronavirus tests, as well as for not complying with the country’s requirements to stay at a government-authorised accommodation and be tested upon arrival.

The travellers arrived in Toronto the week of July 18, Canadian officials said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada had previously fined people for providing false testing documents, but these travellers were the first to be fined for providing fraudulent vaccination information, a spokesperson for the agency said.

It wasn’t clear how the travellers arrived in Canada, why they provided false documents or if they were infected with Covid-19. The Canadian government said it works with international partners to detect false documents.

Since July 5, Canada has required fully vaccinated travellers to submit proof of vaccination before arriving at a port of entry.

“For all travellers coming to Canada, it is important to be informed and to plan in advance,” the Canadian government said in a statement. “It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they are eligible to enter Canada and that they meet all of the mandatory requirements.”

Under Canadian law, submitting false information about vaccination status can result in a fine of up to US$750,000 or six months in jail.

“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,” the government said.

Canada recently announced that starting Aug 9, citizens and permanent residents of the United States will be allowed to enter the country as long as they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days before travel.

Canada plans to allow fully vaccinated visitors from other countries beginning Sept 7.

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