Canada announces significant travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 pandemic
On January 29, 2021, the Government of Canada announced new rules related to international travel. Below is a summary of the key takeaways for travelers to Canada:
1. Temporary suspension of all flights to and from Mexico and the Caribbean
Four major air carriers have agreed to suspend all flights to and from 'sunny vacation destinations.' This announcement took effect on January 31, 2021 and will remain in place until at least April 30, 2021. Arrangements are being made to support returning Canadians and Permanent Residents who are currently in the region.
2. Redirection of all international Flights to four major airports
All international flights entering Canada from all destinations are redirected to one of four international airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal. It is not entirely clear how subsequent domestic travel will be handled for travelers continuing on to Canadian destinations in other provinces.
3. Mandatory COVID-19 molecular tests and supervised quarantine for all air travelers with non-essential travel
The Federal government announced that all 'non-essential' air travelers to Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 test on entry to Canada and to reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost (approximately $2000 CAD) while they await the test results.
There is also a clarification on rules for individuals entering Canada who previously tested positive for COVID-19.
In Ontario all international travelers (including essential workers) will be required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival at Pearson International Airport. This rule is in effect today, February 1, 2021.
4. Is Quarantine still required? Short answer: Yes
These announcements are in addition to the current requirement for all travelers to Canada who enter by air to provide proof of a negative molecular (PCR) COVID test that was performed no more than 72 hours prior to the aircraft's schedule departure to Canada. Additionally, nothing in these announcements reduces in any way to need for travelers to Canada to quarantine for 14 days on entry, unless specifically exempted.
What we don't know yet: impact on the Canada/US land border
It is not yet clear when or if pre-arrival COVID-19 testing will be required at the land border with the U.S. nor whether mandatory supervised (hotel) quarantine will be extended to land border crossings.
READ MORE: Federal Government Announcement about flight restrictions:
READ MORE: Federal Government Announcement about testing and quarantine:
Please reach out to us if you have questions related to travel to Canada.
Melissa M. Babel
Babel Immigration Law Professional Corporation