Published on : Monday, November 30, 2020
The federal government of Canada has once again extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons. On Sunday, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on visitors arriving from other countries have been extended until January 21, 2021.
Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from the U.S. both citizens and foreign nationals alike has been extended until December 21, 2021. Alongside, the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival has also been extended. By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, the latest change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, the international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on November 21.
Both the travel restrictions have been regularly extended since March. It was on March 16 that emergency order brought forward most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. Various exceptions have been made for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few. The government also announced that it will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.
Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people arriving in Canada from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. The changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. According to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, despite the travel restrictions, more than five million travellers arriving in Canada have been allowed to escape the 14-day quarantine requirement especially due to essential workers.
Officials mentioned that the government will continue to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure the health and safety of the Canadians. The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on January 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travellers.