The federal government has approved a travel exemption for Canada’s Olympic hopefuls that will allow them to train at home without undergoing a 14-day quarantine after returning home.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement Friday that the government had granted the exemption after reviewing a plan to create modified quarantine training bubbles for athletes proposed by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees and The podium is ours.

“The plan contains important measures to ensure the safety of athletes, coaching staff and the public,” he said.

Athletes and staff will still need to stay in a government-authorized hotel upon their return to Canada, but once they have received a negative result, they will be able to join one of the four modified quarantine bubbles in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary or Victoria.

In the bubble, they will be confined to their accommodation and training facilities, and will not be able to interact with the public.

Each bubble will have a “compliance officer” and athletes and staff will be tested for COVID-19 “at regular intervals” approximately every two days.

Anyone who deviates from the stated conditions for bubbles will be removed from training, will be required to complete a standard 14-day quarantine, and could face fines or prosecution.

“We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation around the world and base our decisions on science, the best available data and the advice of public health officials at the local, provincial and federal levels,” Mendicino said.

The protocols for the bubbles have been developed with “a meticulous emphasis on health and safety,” said David Shoemaker, CEO and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee, in a statement.

“With a little over a month before the Tokyo Olympics, the athletes are in the final stages of their training,” he said. “Being able to access a safe training bubble that protects athletes and their communities is an incredibly important part of their preparation.”

The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23.

Walker Evan Dunfee said the new measures may come too late for some Canadian athletes.

“Great. But it’s probably too late to allow our NCAA track athletes to compete at the Nationals,” Dunfee wrote on Twitter. “There is at least one athlete whose opportunity to be a part of the The Olympic team was wiped out because he was not allowed to compete, and it sucks. “

The Canadian Track and Field Championships begin next Thursday.

Earlier this month, the federal government issued an NHL playoff travel exemption that allows teams to cross the border without a 14-day quarantine during the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Players and staff are tested before and after departure as they cross the border and are confined to their hotels and arena on the road, but those with Canadian teams can stay at home while playing in Canada .

The Montreal Canadiens – the only Canadian team remaining in the playoffs – were due to host the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup semi-final on Friday, marking the first time a US-based team have played. in Canada since March 2020.

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