Canada announces new COVID-19 travel restrictions

Published on : Monday, February 1, 2021

The Canadian government has decided to impose new COVID-19 restrictions for incoming travellers. The announcement of the latest rules was recently made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after several weeks of pressure from several Canadian provinces to implement tougher travel restrictions. According to the new rules, international flights can only land in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto, starting next week.


All arriving travellers will need to take COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test upon arrival and will be required to stay in a hotel designated by the federal government at their own expense for three days while awaiting test results. Trudeau said the estimated cost of this to travellers is $2,000 Canadian. If the test result is negative, travellers will then need to quarantine at home for a total quarantine period of 14 days (three days at the hotel plus eleven days at home). Those who report a positive test result will need to stay at a designated government facility.


It was also announced that all travellers entering Canada from the U.S. land border will need to be tested upon arrival and demonstrate a negative test. The new restrictions will be put in place to minimise travel to protect the health of Canadians, especially during the upcoming spring break. Prime Minister Trudeau has also asked Canadians to cancel any future non-essential travel they may have planned. He also suggested the government considered a number of additional measures such as the imposition of rapid testing at airports on returning travellers and mandatory supervised quarantine at certain designated hotels at the traveller’s expense.

Travel to Canada from the United States and other country has been regulated since March and is subject to monthly extensions. The current bans on foreign and U.S. non-essential travel are in effect until at least February 21, 2021. A number of people have been extended from the recent travel restrictions, including Canadian citizens, permanent residents, certain temporary foreign workers, certain international students, or immediate and extended family members of Canadians, among others.

Canada will also require every international air traveller aged five years or older to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test done within 72 hours of the traveller’s planned departure for Canada. In addition to being tested, travellers coming to Canada would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period with the quarantine plan prepared prior to arrival in Canada to specify where and how it will be carried out. Travellers to Canada have also been asked to use the ArriveCAN app to send their information to Canadian border services officers and learn how to comply with coronavirus measures at the border.


The usage of the application is mandatory for all incoming travellers to perform daily self-assessments and to ensure that the quarantine process is completed as required. Some Canadian provinces continue to show encouraging declines in the number of new cases and hospitalisations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed during recent press conferences that vaccines will continue to arrive despite the threat of protectionist measures by the European Union to limit the export of doses abroad and current manufacturing delays. He stated that the Canadian government is on track to ensure everyone in the country will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccination by September and also shared that research shows only 2 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada are due to incoming travellers, which is evidence of the effectiveness of travel restrictions.


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