Managing Your Quarantine

As soon as you arrive in Canada, unless you are fully vaccinated, you must immediately enter into quarantine (self-isolation).

Starting July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers who have received vaccines approved in Canada will be exempt from quarantine, and day-8 COVID-19 test, if meeting eligibility criteria.

Travellers are no longer required to book a 3-night hotel stopover when entering Canada.

See the news release for details.

This page contains information on how to plan for your quarantine so you can stay safe and healthy while meeting the necessary requirements.

Important Preliminary Notes
What is Quarantine
Quarantine Essentials
Food & Meals
Essential Services & Medical

Important Preliminary Notes

Under Canada’s Quarantine Act, all unvaccinated travellers arriving in Canada are legally required to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes Canadians. You will not be allowed to enter Canada without a quarantine plan.

Under new requirements for air travel that took effect February 22, 2021, when a student arrives in Canada, they must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport.  Unvaccinated travelers must proceed to the quarantine site identified in their quarantine plan.  Ten-days into their quarantine, the student will use a take-home test provided at their arrival in Canada. A further clear result is required before leaving quarantine at 14 days. 

The traveler is responsible for the cost of both testing and accommodation. Please check the Government of Canada’s updates for the latest information.

Starting July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers who have received vaccines approved in Canada will be exempt from quarantine, and day-8 COVID-19 test, if meeting eligibility criteria.

See the news release for details.

We advise you not to attempt to enter Canada until you have carefully reviewed the following:

  • Latest Travel Health Advice
    This section of IRCC’s website contains important up-to-date information about quarantine requirements.
  • Returning to Canada Fact Sheet
    This website and document will help you to familiarize yourself with the expectations of Canada’s public health authorities.
  • ArriveCan App
    You must submit your quarantine plan to the Canadian government using the ArriveCAN app before you arrive in Canada.
  • Before travelling you should also download the BC COVID-19 Support App as well as the ArriveCAN app.

Already have a quarantine plan? Please send us the following details so we can ensure that you have the support you need:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Travel dates
  • Phone number where you can be reached during quarantine
  • Address where you will be quarantining
  • How you will get there to your quarantine location
  • How you will access food during quarantine
  • How you will access essential services and medical care (including details about your medical insurance)
  • Names of anyone locally you know who can provide support if needed (grocery delivery etc.)

What is Quarantine

The requirement to quarantine (or “self-isolate”) means that as soon as you arrive in Canada you must:

  • go to your place of quarantine
  • stay there for the prescribed amount of time
  • avoid contact with others (unless they travelled with you and are in quarantine with you)
  • monitor your health

Throughout your quarantine, you may not leave your place of quarantine unless it is

  • for a medical emergency,
  • to access necessary medical treatment
  • pre-authorized

The key element of quarantine is staying in your place of quarantine and avoiding contact with others. If you arrive by air, you will be required to begin your quarantine in a government-sponsored hotel at your own expense. If you are symptom-free after 3 days in the hotel, you may be permitted to spend the rest of your quarantine in another location.

You should not quarantine in a place where you are unable to avoid contact with others (for example, in a communal living situation), and you must not have contact with vulnerable individuals while in quarantine. You may not have guests and you must avoid shared spaces like lobbies, courtyards, gyms, and pools.

If you begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 while you are in quarantine, your quarantine period will be extended.

This is just a brief summary of quarantine requirements. It is very important for you to understand the Government of Canada’s complete quarantine requirements before you arrive in Canada. You can view those requirements here.

Quarantine Essentials

Every quarantine plan must include a few essential elements. These are necessary both for your own benefit and to satisfy the government’s requirements:

  • Self-Assessment and Reporting
    How will you monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms, and who should you contact if they appear?
  • Transportation
    How will you get to your accommodations after entering the country?
  • Accommodation
    Where will you stay? Note that in most cases this will include a stay lasting at least three days in a government-sponsored hotel at your own expense.
  • Food
    How will you access food during your quarantine?
  • Essential Services & Medical Care
    How will you access these services?

Read on for resources to help you build your personal quarantine plan.


If you arrive in Canada by land or air and are not fully vaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 14 days.

If you have a home in Canada, or if someone has offered you a place to stay, you may be able to spend your quarantine there. For information on how to self-isolate in a home shared with others, please review the Government of Canada’s advice on How to Isolate at Home.

If you do not have a place to safely quarantine, you will need to book a place to stay. Some options are set out below.


UBC has a number of self-isolation packages that are available to VST students. If you choose one of UBC’s Self-Isolation Packages, you must identify yourself as a student at a UBC affiliate school.

While UBC offers a number of self-isolation packages, the Walter Gage residence on UBC’s campus is providing a special deal for VST students that includes both food and housing (Reservations are available on a first-come first-serve basis while capacity lasts). Details:

  • Rate: $79 per day plus tax (student rate)
  • When booking, identify yourself as a VST student to receive the discounted rate.
  • Features: One bedroom, unequipped kitchen, fridge and microwave.
  • Contact: Reservations Office at UBC: or 604 822 1000

You can review all of UBC’s Self-Isolation packages here.


Many hotels in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland offer self-isolation packages. Several AirBNB locations can also serve as self-isolation options. The following list simply sets out a few of those options. You are welcome to do more research on your own.

Food & Meals

Travellers to Canada may not leave their quarantine locations to purchase meals, groceries, or other necessities. Incoming students should arrange to have someone deliver meals and supplies, or have groceries or meals delivered.

Food Delivery Apps & Websites

Many restaurants in Vancouver offer delivery service. You can contact restaurants directly or use the following apps and websites to have meals delivered right to your door:

Grocery Delivery

If you prefer to make your own meals, a number of grocery stores in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland offer delivery services. Some of these grocery stores allow you to order your groceries in advance. Some of these delivery services must be booked a few days before the groceries are delivered, so we recommend placing your grocery order a week before you arrive in Canada.

Local grocery stores offering delivery include:

  • Save-On-Foods
    (select “Vancouver” and the postal code for where you are quarantining when ordering. We recommend you order at least a week in advance of your preferred delivery date.)
  • Stongs
  • Spud

Meal Kit Delivery

If you would like to cook for yourself but want a little bit of guidance, you may prefer a meal kit. Meal kits provide instructions and all ingredients for a home-cooked meal.The following services will deliver meal kits right to your door.

Essential Services & Medical Care

Medical information and advice is available throughout the province of British Columbia by dialing 8-1-1. You must have a phone that works in British Columbia in order to access this service.

You must ensure that you have medical insurance to cover the first 3 months of your stay in BC. The Government of British Columbia provides a Medical Services Plan (MSP) to all BC residents. However, MSP does not provide coverage for the first 3 months of your time in Canada. During the 3 month waiting period, you must have private medical coverage.

Some students extend their travel insurance to cover this period. Others purchase additional private insurance. Private insurance is also available through a local insurance company, David Cummings Insurance Services.

Whatever insurance package you purchase, it is important to review your coverage plan carefully to ensure that you have the necessary medical coverage in relation to COVID-19.