Canada's international travel restrictions extended for at least another month

Jan 20 2021, 7:43 pm

Canada’s international travel restrictions will remain in place for at least another month, the federal government confirmed today.

According to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the restrictions are being extended until February 21, and mandatory quarantine will remain in place for all returning Canadian citizens and permanent residents with limited exceptions.

“Our Government will never hesitate to take the strong action needed to keep Canadians safe from COVID-19, while maintaining essential trade with our international partners,” Blair tweeted.

Travellers entering Canada must follow the rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act.

“No one should travel when sick,” the orders states. “Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent you from boarding your plane if you’re sick. However, Canadians, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to return to Canada.”

Still, anyone entering Canada will be:

  • Asked if they have a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing
  • Required to acknowledge that they must:
    • quarantine for 14 days if they don’t have symptoms or
    • isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms
  • Asked if they have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where they’ll have access to basic necessities, including water, food, medication and heat during the winter months, and won’t have contact with people who are 65 years old or older, have underlying medical conditions, and/or have compromised immune systems
  • Given instructions about the actions they must take under the emergency order and the penalties for non-compliance

As well, travellers entering Canada must:

  • Provide traveller-contact information through the ArriveCAN mobile app, or an accessible web-based form, or a paper form
  • Undergo screening by a border official
  • Answer any relevant questions when they arrive in Canada and during the 14-day period while in quarantine or isolation

Border restrictions

Foreign nationals (not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada) won’t be able to enter Canada if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

There are currently border restrictions for discretionary (optional) travel to Canada:

Discretionary travel includes, but is not limited to, tourism, recreation, and entertainment.

If a traveller’s entry is permitted, they’ll be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Exemptions to border restrictions

The government said there are no exemptions to border restrictions for compassionate reasons, such as visiting a critically ill loved one or attending a funeral.

Exemptions at the border will only be considered if:

  • There are no symptoms of COVID-19
  • The reason for travel is:

Foreign nationals arriving from the US may be able to enter Canada for non-discretionary (non-optional) travel purposes.

Foreign nationals arriving from countries other than the US may also be allowed to enter Canada. However, their travel must be non-discretionary (non-optional) and fall under exemptions set out in the emergency order. For example:

  • an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is travelling to be with an immediate family member and is planning to stay for a period of at least 15 days
    • foreign nationals who are allowed into Canada under this exemption must quarantine for 14 days

Being exempt from border restrictions does not mean you’re exempt from other requirements, including:

  • mandatory quarantine
  • any additional public health requirements of the province or territory where you’ll be quarantining and staying while in Canada

Foreign nationals who meet an exemption to the border restrictions must still present the appropriate travel documents at the border. This includes citizenship documents or work permits. Government representatives will make the final decision on your entry to Canada at the port of entry.

For more information on the restrictions to enter Canada and the exemptions, consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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