COVID-19InternationalNews

Federal Government Announces Stricter Travel Restrictions

By January 30, 2021 No Comments

On Friday January 29th, our government announced new measures to restrict travel and limit the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.

  • Starting this Sunday January 31, 2021 to April 30, 2021: Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat will suspend air services to sun destinations, including to the Caribbean and Mexico.
  • As of February 3, 2021, all incoming international commercial passenger flights to Canada will be only allowed through four Canadian airports: Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. incoming non-essential
  • In the coming weeks, the government will introduce mandatory COVID-19 testing for passengers arriving in Canada at the airport, in addition to the negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of boarding already required.
  • As international travellers await their results in Canada, they’ll have to quarantine at a government-designated hotel for up to three days at their own expense, up to $2,000.
    • Those who receive negative results will be allowed to return home to complete their two-week isolation
    • Those who test positive for the virus will have to quarantine in designated government facilities.
  • Regardless of the test results, travellers must still complete a 14-day quarantine.
    • A third test will be required on the 10th day of the 14-day quarantine. The details of these measures will be updated shortly.
  • At the land border, all travellers entering Canada, unless exempt, will soon be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before proceeding to their approved quarantine plan. (Full details on the implementation of this requirement will be available in the coming days)

 

These new measures are in addition to the existing measures below:

On March 18, 2020, as a response to COVID-19, Canada closed the border to most non-citizens in order to limit the spread.

Our government’s actions at the border since then are:

  • Restrict travel from foreign nationals to Canada for optional or discretionary reasons, such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment.
    • Canadian citizens and permanent residents were not denied entry into Canada and Canadians were subsequently advised to avoid non-essential travel.
  • Established the Quarantine Act to limit the spread of COVID-19. This means that people coming into Canada have to:
    • Isolate for 14 days if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you know you have COVID-19
    • Quarantine for 14 days if you do not have symptoms
    • Comply with mandatory quarantine or isolation requirements – failure to comply will result in fines, penalties or imprisonment
  • Mandate that a traveler demonstrate they have an adequate plan for quarantine.
    • Thanks to strong quarantine measures, under two percent of all coronavirus cases reported in Canada stem from foreign travel, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • As of January 7, 2021, proof of a negative COVID-19 laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada.
    • The test must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled time of departure to Canada.
    • All travellers coming to Canada, regardless of citizenship, will be required to have this proof at the time of boarding. Failure to do so will mean an automatic denial of boarding by the air carrier operating the flight to Canada.

In addition, we have allowed foreign nationals to travel to Canada to reunite with their families:

  • On June 8th, we allowed immediate family members of Canadians to come to Canada. This includes:
    • spouse or common-law partner;
    • dependent child
    • parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
    • guardian or tutor.
  • On October 8th, we made changes to allow extended family members of Canadians citizens and permanent residents to apply to receive authorization to travel to Canada. This includes:
    • individuals in an exclusive dating relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least 1 year
    • non-dependent children (adult children)
    • Grandchildren
    • siblings (including half- and step-siblings)
    • grandparents

Foreign nationals seeking an exemption from the travel restrictions on compassionate grounds can make a request to the Public Health Agency of Canada to receive authorization to travel into the country for reasons such as supporting someone in Canada who is critically ill or to attend a funeral.

Highlights from the Prime Minister’s Press Conference Friday January 29, 2021

  • Each new case of COVID-19 is one too many.
  • That’s why, since March 2020, we have enforced some of the world’s strictest border measures and restrictions on non-essential travel. The U.S. is just now taking similar actions that we took nearly a year ago.
  • Our borders have been closed to foreign travelers for nearly a year, we have a strict and supervised mandatory quarantine, and we ask for a negative test before people can return home.
  • With less than 2 per cent of COVID-19 cases linked to returning Canadians, our travel measures are working.
  • But this is a complex issue, and with cases increasing here at home and around the world, and with new variants of the virus, now is just not the time to be flying.
  • To prevent new cases from coming to Canada and to protect Canadians from new variants of the virus, we are announcing the following strengthened travel measures:
    • Starting this Sunday January 31, 2021 to April 30, 2021: Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat will suspend air services to sun destinations, including to the Caribbean and Mexico.
    • Starting next week, we are strengthening measures to better control international flights by reducing them to only four airports – Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal.
    • As soon as possible in the coming weeks, there will be mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. At an expense of up to $2,000, travelers will have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their results.
    • In the coming week, non-essential travelers will be required to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US, and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements.
  • Since the beginning of the crisis, our priority has been to protect Canadians. We must continue to work together to do this  – because people don’t want political bickering on top of the pandemic.
  • We will continue to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to protect and support Canadians during this crisis.