I hope you are all well and staying safe. I have the following COVID-19 update to share with you from the Government of Canada. It relates to new travel restrictions coming into force at Canadian land border crossings.
The Government of Canada continues to work closely with partners in Canada and around the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As this pandemic continues to affect the ability of Canadians and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a significant new announcement today regarding new COVID related travel restrictions.
Canada is now going to require travellers to provide a negative COVID-19 test when seeking to enter Canada at a land border crossing. This requirement is expected to come into effect as early as Feb. 15, 2021.
Trudeau has announced that the COVID test must have been done within 72 hours prior to travel and it must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, also known as a PCR test.
Travellers who arrive at the Canadian border without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test could be refused entry or face fines of up to $3,000. The federal government cannot prevent Canadians from returning to the country at a land border, even without a test, but if they don’t have the required test they are still subject to being fined.
The government of Canada is taking these enhanced measures to combat the concern that more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus are now already circulating within Canada. This announcement today comes as the Government of Canada had already introduced similar mandatory testing measures for all air travellers.
Canada began requiring all people arriving by air to show a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test in early January. Travellers entering Canada by air will also need to take an approved COVID-19 test upon arrival and will need to stay in a quarantine hotel for three days while awaiting test results.
It is estimated that it would cost air travellers an estimated $2,000 to comply. Hotels will be required to provide transportation to and from the airport and deliver food to the traveller’s room during quarantine. For more information, please consult the Government of Canada website.
The starting date for this new measure has not yet been released. Further, these tests are in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine order on all incoming travellers. This 2-week period is inclusive of the 3 days air travellers are required to spend in a hotel.
Travellers to Canada also need to download the ArriveCAN app.
At present, only four Canadian airports are accepting international travellers:
- Vancouver International Airport;
- Calgary International Airport;
- Toronto Pearson International Airport; and
- Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Canadian airlines have currently halted service to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Foreign nationals are still only allowed to enter Canada for essential reasons, or to reunite with family. Canada’s travel restrictions are currently in place until February 21, 2021 and are expected to be renewed much longer beyond this period.
Canada’s borders have been subject to travel restrictions since March 2020, and these new restrictions recently announced are expected to last well into 2021.
Kadri Law will continue to provide updates as they become available. As always, if you have a specific concern or issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Wishing you all the best in health and safety.