What Nunavummiut need to know to travel this holiday season 

Checklist for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers

Nunavummiut travelling this holiday season have a mix of territorial and federal rules to follow. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

With health restrictions changing in Nunavut and across the country, travelling will look different this holiday season.

Airports will soon fill up, with many people leaving Nunavut for the first time since the pandemic began.

Nunatsiaq News has compiled some need-to-know information on travel rules, vaccines, isolation and QR codes across the country, complete with two checklists.

QR Codes

Fully vaccinated Nunavummiut can get a printed QR code showing their proof of vaccination from their local health centre.

The paper version or a cell phone photo of it can be scanned.

Apple allows people with Iphones to store proof of vaccination in the Apple Health app by scanning it with the phone’s camera app. Devices updated to iOS 15 are capable of this.

Other provinces and territories have apps for their QR codes, but Danarae Sommerville, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said this was never the plan for Nunavut.

“Unequal opportunities accessing technology in Nunavut make it difficult to implement,” she said in an email.

Proof of Vaccination Certificate

The printed page containing the QR code Nunavummiut get is the Proof of Vaccination Certificate, or PVC, needed for travelling within Canada

It will also allow access non-essential services, like restaurants or concerts, in provinces and territories that require it.

These documents are available at local health centres, according to the Government of Nunavut.

Provinces and territories that require QR codes or a negative COVID-19 test to access non-essential services:

  • Alberta: QR code and ID (12 and older)
  • British Columbia: QR code and ID (12 and older)
  • Manitoba: QR code (12 and older)
  • New Brunswick: QR code and ID, or PVC (12 and older)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: QR code and ID (12 and older)
  • Northwest Territories: PVC, including QR code
  • Nova Scotia: PVC (12 and older)
  • Ontario: QR code and ID (12 and older)
  • Prince Edward Island: P.E.I. Pass needed to enter the province (12 and older)
  • Quebec: QR code and I.D (13 and older)
  • Saskatchewan: Proof of vaccination or a rapid antigen COVID-19 test (12 and older)
  • Yukon: QR code and ID (12 and older)

The Canadian government requires anyone over 12 years old travelling by plane, train or boat to show the PVC — the printed form with the QR code on it — except for medical travellers, who are exempt.

People travelling within Nunavut who aren’t departing from or travelling through Iqaluit will not need a PVC.

Those flying out of Nunavut from Rankin Inlet or Cambridge Bay with a final destination of Yellowknife or Winnipeg do not need a PVC.

Nunavummiut can use their small vaccine cards instead of the PVC to travel until Nov. 30.

CPHO Letter

To travel back to Nunavut, a letter from the chief public health officer’s office is no longer needed, as of Dec. 1.

Checklist for fully vaccinated travellers:

  • Proof of vaccination certificate ( those flying to Winnipeg or Yellowknife directly from Cambridge Bay or Rankin Inlet are exempt from this).
  • Wear a mask for 14 days upon return to Nunavut.

Checklist for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers

  • Negative COVID-19 rapid test taken within 72 hours of departure if leaving from, or connecting through the Iqaluit airport (unless flying to Winnipeg or Yellowknife directly from Cambridge Bay or Rankin Inlet) OR a positive COVID-19 test that is at least 14 days old.
  • Negative COVID-19 rapid test taken in Yellowknife or Winnipeg within 72 hours of departure to final destination OR a positive COVID-19 test that is at least 14 days old.
  • Nunavut CPHO travel authorization proving completion of 14-day isolation in designated GN isolation site.
  • If under 12 years old and travelling into Nunavut with a vaccinated parent or guardian, the unvaccinated youth (and other unvaccinated household members) must isolate for 14 days once back in Nunavut.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available through airlines at the Iqaluit airport, according to the GN.

Sommerville said that no matter what, unvaccinated travellers over 12 years old must isolate before getting back into Nunavut.

“There is no documentation that supersedes isolation for unvaccinated individuals returning to Nunavut,” she said.

Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 at any time while they travel will have to isolate for 14 days or present a negative COVID-19 test.

All travel restrictions and rules, including those for remote Nunavut communities, may change when stricter rules are implemented by the federal government on Nov. 30, Sommerville said.


This article was updated to reflect changes made to travel rules on Dec. 1.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by B Aglukark on

    Matna, very helpful, thanks!

  2. Posted by Why cpho letter needed if doubly vaccinated now that required for air travel? on

    I think the GN would save itself a lot of time and scarce resources by not requiring a CPHO letter from doubly vaccinated people travelling to and fro Nunavut now that this vaccination is required by the federal givernment to fly anyway (with exceptions). Am I missing something? Is there a factual error in this article? Is GN not there yet in updating its requirements?

  3. Posted by Concerned citizen on

    These PVC do not work when scanned down south. I’ve had family members have there paper copy from Iqaluit health center and when shown to the restaurant to be scanned it did not register as a scannable QR code

  4. Posted by Lost QR code on

    Does Nunavut have a contingency plan for those of us who may lose that piece of paper while travelling? This happened to someone I know who had to beg with the Airline to let him board the plane back to Nunavut while in Yellowknife. He called the Health Centre and they said there was nothing they could do because they are not allowed to email medical documents. This is a very serious concern for somebody who might lose it while somewhere like Ontario where you will not be allowed to board any plane without proof of vaccination. This is especially concerning for an elder or someone without the means to take a photo of the QR code with their phone. Shameful, very shameful.


    In other words, the Department of Health is incompetent, since every single other Province and Terrotiry have apps or a simple Digital PDF file option to securely store on a USB stick or phone. You’ve had almost a year to figure this out GN Health, get your head out of the dirt!

    • Posted by ugh… on

      scan it. make a copy.

    • Posted by make copies? on

      It is unfortunate people lose their QR paper. But come on now, currently this paper is up there in terms of importance as an ID. make copies and copies? take a picture of it? scan it? like be more responsible! as for elders, I feel they whine way less than the current generation who expects everything to be spoon fed.

    • Posted by Simple on

      iPhone with ios15 scans the QR directly into the Health app, from there you can save the code to your Wallet for easy access. Android allows you to save your QR code to Google Pay.

    • Posted by Simple on

      You are suggesting we need to make it easier to travel for individuals who have no cell phone and are incapable of keeping proper documents on their person. Should we maybe issue a tag of sorts to be worn about the neck or possibly a tattoo on the individual’s wrist? There is only so much idiot-proofing we can do with this world. Beyond that, people need to be responsible for their own documentation.

    • Posted by Michael on

      What do you do of you lose your ID or Driver’s license, Passport when traveling? Make sure you keep the QR paper safe like the rest of your identification.

  5. Posted by QRAZY on

    “Other provinces and territories have apps for their QR codes, but Danarae Sommerville, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said this was never the plan for Nunavut.

    “Unequal opportunities accessing technology in Nunavut make it difficult to implement,” she said in an email.”

    -WHAT does that even mean? Means they are incompetent and sets the bar very low for the GN: which is one of the most heavily subsidized governments in the world.

  6. Posted by Name withheld on

    I for one am aware when you travel with a youth under 12 you must have him/her tested 72 hours prior to departure with RT-PCR, when travelling from south into Nunavut.

    Rapid testing results will not be accepted.

  7. Posted by angry flyer on

    I got a covid vaccination card with my injections on it and the dates.
    I have a CPHO Letter allowing me to return to my home.
    I now carry a questionable QR code paper that will only integrate with a phone that carries less than 30% of market share.
    Can we simplify this whole travel fiasco or are we doomed to ride this slow motion train wreck of health regulation into a mountain of paperwork?
    My suggestion is that any one of the 3 pieces of paper should allow you full access to whatever service or destination you desire and that the QR code should have an integrated mobile app.

    • Posted by No Issue on

      Shouldn’t you be happy that you can travel again? What is the issue here, that you need to carry too many documents? All you need is your ID, the letter and the confirmation with the barcode. There is no fiasco, there were only restrictions applied to keep Nunavut and Nunavummiut safe

  8. Posted by M Aupaluktuq-Hickes on

    I heard the QR codes aren’t readable once the paper that it’s printed on is folded up.

  9. Posted by Cold island bear on

    How about dont be an idiot and just dont travel? Who cared who you haven’t seen for awhile? Another month or 3 wont hurt.
    Learn to stay still


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