Canada’s coronavirus cases number in the low hundreds. Nevertheless, in the interests of public safety, the Federal Government has started to impose travel restrictions to halt further spread of COVID-19.
This article examines Canada’s restrictions on those arriving from international destinations. It also considers how visitors should prepare to safely travel to Canada amid the new prevention measures. Read on to learn:
- Who Canada is restricting from entering the country
- Whether you can still visit the country with a Canadian eTA or visa
- What public safety measures will need to be followed in Canada
What Are Canada’s Entry Restrictions?
Canada normally imposes some border entry restrictions on foreign visitors.
Normally, applicants for an eTA visa waiver or visa, or foreign travelers entering Canada could be considered inadmissible for a number of reasons including:
- War crimes
- Organized crime
- Inability to financially support themselves in Canada
- Presenting a risk to public health
- Providing false information during a visa application
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus has led to Canada imposing additional restrictions on entry to the country. These have been temporarily put into place until the outbreak has been brought under control.
At the moment, Canada has closed its border to almost all foreign nationals. The implementation of the new travel ban starts on March 18th at 12 om EDT. The restriction applies to everyone trying to enter Canada from then onwards except for:
- U.S. nationals
- Permanent residents
- Family members of Canadian citizens
- Those providing essential services
Everyone who has resided in a country other than the U.S. for the past 14 days will be prevented from entering Canada. The exempt individuals mentioned above will have to self-isolate for a fortnight if they have been in a country other than the U.S. in the past 14 days.
Many national and international airports have introduced new safety regulations to combat coronavirus. This includes screening passengers for COVID-19 symptoms. Arriving passengers should be aware that these checks are in place at the following locations:
- Vancouver International Airport
- Ottawa International Airport
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport
- Toronto-Pearson International Airport
- Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
- Edmonton International Airport
- Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
- Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
- Calgary International Airport
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
On April 1, only four Canadian airports are currently accepting international flights: Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport; domestic flights and those arriving from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Saint Pierre and Miquelon will be exempted.
Who Can And Cannot Enter Canada Under these Restrictions?
At the moment, no foreign national is admitted into Canada. As outlined above, exceptions include U.S. citizens, diplomats, professionals providing essential services, and more.
Canada-U.S. border closure
As of Friday the 18th of March 2020, the border between the U.S. and Canada is temporarily closed.
Crossing is only allowed for those cases deemed ‘essential’, the two governments have announced. Trains and trucks transporting food will be let through and so will be citizens returning to their home country. Those who move daily between the two North American nations to carry out necessary work or attend school will also be able to pass. Recreational and tourism crossing is, for the time being, banned.
The closure affects land entry points and railways only so airports are, for now, exempt. However, the Canadian government has already advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travel and as mentioned before, will not let foreigners in.
What Are Canada’s COVID-19 Prevention Measures
To maintain public health, those visiting Canada are advised to follow common precautions to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. In addition to the methods above to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst foreign travelers, individuals in the country are also advised to:
- Frequently sanitize their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based gel
- Avoid close contact with sufferers of the coronavirus
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
- Self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arriving in Canada
- Contact the provincial medical authorities if they suspect their symptoms are COVID-19
The situation surrounding the coronavirus is developing all the time and tourists should keep up to date with the latest news surrounding the outbreak. Travelers are therefore advised to check with tour providers, accommodation and relevant air-carriers before departure to ensure that they may still arrive in the country without disruption.