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Canada fines two travelers nearly $20,000 each for false vaccination documents

People pass by the sign of a COVID-19 immunization clinic in downtown Toronto, Canada, on Sunday, July 18, 2021.
People pass by the sign of a COVID-19 immunization clinic in downtown Toronto, Canada, on Sunday, July 18, 2021.Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

Two Canadian citizens who recently traveled from the United States to Toronto were fined nearly $20,000 each by the Public Health Agency of Canada for providing false proof of vaccination documents.

The Canadian government on Friday announced that the travelers were each fined a total of $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-authorized accommodation and be tested upon arrival. The travelers 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 travelers were the first to be fined for providing fraudulent vaccination information, a spokesperson for the agency said.

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It wasn’t clear how the travelers 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 travelers to submit proof of vaccination before arriving at a port of entry.

“For all travelers coming to Canada, it is important to be informed and to plan in advance,” the Canadian government said in a statement. “It is the traveler’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 $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.

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