Americans Caught With Fake COVID Docs at U.S.-Canada Border Subject to $750K Fine, Prison

Authorities in Canada warned traveling Americans of massive fines and jail time if they're caught falsifying COVID-19 vaccine or test result documents.

Canadian officials on Monday are set to re-open the U.S.-Canada border to American citizens and permanent U.S. residents who can show proof they are fully vaccinated. The ensuing end of the 17-month pandemic border closure came with a warning and new public health restrictions for air travelers, including threats of a $750,000 fine or prison time for a failure to comply.

Canada Border Services Agency announced that those coming into the country must prove they've been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days, show a negative, non-antigen COVID-19 test, and be asymptomatic at the time of crossing.

Additionally, if a traveler is deemed to have put another person at risk of imminent death, bodily harm or potential illness, the punishments could exceed $1 million in fines and up to three years in jail. Canada's Public Health Agency holds the final say in how such violations may be enforced against travelers.

On July 18, two travelers who attempted to enter Toronto through the U.S. were each fined nearly $20,000 apiece after they provided false proof of vaccination and negative coronavirus tests, USA Today reported. Canadian officials said the pair then tried to avoid the country's hotel quarantine restrictions, which are set to expire Monday.

Canada border officials are also set to begin implementing a new surveillance and COVID-19 testing program which they hope will provide tracking data on the spread of the Delta variant. The country's so-called Quarantine Act gives border officers "the authority to review, challenge and confirm travelers' statements," Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said, The Detroit News reported.

Monday's border re-opening comes after a Friday night agreement between Canadian border worker unions and the government. The U.S. border, however, is set to remain closed to Canadian travelers through at least August 21, a move which prompted criticism and confusion from America's northern neighbor.

The mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Mike Bradley, told The Detroit News late last month that he and other city officials were "stunned" by the U.S. government decision to extend the border closure.

Many Canadian business leaders had hoped for reciprocity that would have seen the U.S. open its borders in the other direction on Monday. But U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials chose to continue the restrictions for at least another two weeks.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and people registered under the Indian Act can all enter Canada after providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. All travelers coming into Canadian airports or across the border are subject to 14-day quarantine restrictions based on the case-by-case direction of public health officials.

Newsweek reached out to the Canada Border Services Agency for any additional restriction information ahead of Monday's re-opening.

canada border reopening covid proof
Canadian officials on Monday are set to re-open the U.S.-Canada border to American citizens and permanent U.S. residents who can show proof they are fully vaccinated. In this photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent directs vehicles as they enter a highway checkpoint on August 1, 2018 in West Enfield, Maine. The checkpoint took place approximately 80 miles from the US/Canada border. SCOTT EISEN / Stringer/Getty Images