Canada introduces further restrictions on international travel

From: Transport Canada

The Government of Canada continues to take unprecedented action to protect the health and safety of Canadians by introducing measures to prevent further introduction and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus into Canada.

Today, the Government of Canada announced new rules on international travel, in addition to the multi-layered approach on COVID-19 already in place. The government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021. This will be in effect as of January 31, 2021.

Further, effective midnight (11:59 PM EST) February 3, 2021, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure test, Transport Canada will expand the existing international flight restrictions which funnel scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. The new restrictions will include scheduled commercial passenger flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which were exempted from the previous restriction. Private/Business and charter flights from all countries will also be required to land at the four airports. Flights from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and cargo-only flights will remain exempt.

As soon as possible in the coming weeks, all air travellers arriving in Canada, with very limited exceptions, must reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost, and take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival at their own cost. More details will be available in the coming days.

The Government of Canada will introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) for travellers seeking entry in land mode, with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers. In addition, we continue to collaborate with partners in the United States to strengthen our border measures and keep our countries safe.

To ensure travellers’ awareness and compliance with quarantine requirements, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with security companies to help complete compliance checks for travellers arriving in Canada. Employees of these companies were trained by PHAC and authorized as Screening Officers under the Quarantine Act. These Screening Officers will visit travellers’ quarantine locations to establish contact, confirm identity and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada. These new officers will conduct visits in 35 cities across the country, starting in Montréal and Toronto.

Quotes

“The safety of the travelling public and the transportation industry are top priorities. Our government continues to strongly advise against non-essential travel outside Canada, and has implemented many measures to protect the health of Canadians in our transportation system. The expansion of the flight restrictions is based on decisive, public health rationale from the Public Health Agency of Canada to further protect Canadians from the health impacts of COVID-19.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra

Minister of Transport

“No one should be travelling right now. Each of us has a part in keeping our communities safe, and that means avoiding non-essential travel, which can put you, your loved ones, and your community at risk. The new measures announced today will be an important tool for protecting our communities, and increasing our compliance and enforcement capacity will help us keep all Canadians safe from COVID-19.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu

Minister of Health

“We continue to enhance the already very strong border measures that were put in place since March 2020. Today’s announcement further strengthens these measures and will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are working with provinces, territories and the United States to explore ways to keep us safe while ensuring the flow of essential goods and services remains uninterrupted.”

The Honourable Bill Blair

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“As new variants emerge, now more than ever, Canadians should be staying home. For their health and that of their loved ones, Canadians should only be considering travel if it is absolutely essential. With school breaks around the corner, I take this opportunity to remind Canadians that under no circumstance should anyone be planning travel for leisure.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Travellers entering Canada have a responsibility to make suitable arrangements for mandatory quarantine, which begins on the day they enter Canada. They are also required to submit COVID-19 related information electronically daily.

  • Failure to provide accurate information is an offence under the Quarantine Act. In addition, violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a Screening Officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

  • PHAC currently contacts more than 6,500 travellers each day through phone calls, which verify their compliance with the mandatory isolation order.

  • As of January 26, 2021, 99% of the 48,682 interventions by law enforcement have resulted in compliance by travellers. However, in a minority of cases, verbal warnings, written warnings, tickets, and charges have been issued.

  • The Government of Canada is working directly with Aéroports de Montréal to offer voluntary testing on-site at the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport for arriving international travellers who wish to take a test before leaving the airport. This testing pilot project is in addition to those at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and the Calgary International Airport.

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