Canada Adds New Travel Requirements and Restrictions

By Elizabeth M. Klarin

February 12, 2021 | Immigration Blog
The government of Canada announced today that it is adding new COVID-19 related travel requirements for international travelers requesting entry to Canada by both air and land ports of entry. Adding to certain measures already in place, starting next week, entry to Canada by air or at land will require:
 
  • Reporting of certain information through Canada’s ArriveCAN app or online at https://arrivecan.cbsa-asfc.cloud-nuage.canada.ca/privacy 
  • COVID-19 testing prior to arrival and post-arrival (with limited exceptions)
  • Presentation of a quarantine plan upon arrival
  • Mandatory isolation or quarantine (with limited exceptions)
  • Mandatory hotel stay until on-arrival COVID testing results are received
  • Further quarantining at home or at a government quarantine facility
 
TRAVEL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Starting February 22nd: All travelers, whether arriving by land or air, will be required to submit their travel and contact information—including a suitable quarantine plan—electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.
 
COVID-19 TESTING REQUIREMENTS
Starting February 15th: All non-exempt travelers will be required to have molecular COVID testing within 72 hours of either (1) boarding a flight to Canada, or (2) prior to arrival at a land or sea border to request entry. Please note that being exempt from quarantine does not mean you’re exempt from the pre-boarding/pre-arrival test requirements.
 
Starting February 22nd: On arrival to Canada at the land border, or before leaving the airport if arriving by air, you will be required to take another COVID-19 molecular test. If you receive a positive result on your arrival test, you will be relocated to a designated quarantine facility for the remainder of your 14 days of isolation. Travelers will also be required to take another COVID-19 molecular test toward the end of their 14-day quarantine, and will be required to stay in their place of quarantine until they receive (negative) results. 
 
Penalties for non-compliance:
Canadians citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents arriving by land to Canada, who do not present a valid COVID-19 molecular test, will be allowed entry but may be subject to a fine of up to $3,000 per day or face criminal prosecution. Travelers may also be required to go to a designated quarantine facility if they are symptomatic on arrival at the border, or do not have a suitable quarantine plan.
 
Foreign nationals who have obtained an exemption to enter Canada, will be refused entry, with limited exceptions, if they do not have a valid COVID-19 molecular test result.
 
Penalties for non-compliance:
  • Canadians citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act and permanent residents arriving by land to Canada, who do not present a valid COVID-19 molecular test, will be allowed entry but may be subject to a fine of up to $3,000 per day or face criminal prosecution. Travelers may also be required to go to a designated quarantine facility if they are symptomatic on arrival at the border, or do not have a suitable quarantine plan.
  • Foreign nationals who have obtained an exemption to enter Canada, will be refused entry, with limited exceptions, if they do not have a valid COVID-19 molecular test result.
 
MANDATORY ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS
The following will be required for (non-exempt) air travelers entering Canada as of February 21, 2021:
 
  • Isolate at a pre-reserved, government-authorized COVID quarantine (government approved) hotel within the jurisdiction of entry, for up to 3 days (until COVID-19 arrival test results are received).  
    • Travelers must present proof of having reserved and pre-paid for their accommodation through ArriveCAN.
    •  Individuals must pay for the cost of the hotel stay and all associated costs (i.e., food, security, transportation, and infection prevention and control measures)
    • The government has stated that if an on-arrival COVID test comes back negative before the end of the 3-day quarantine period, travelers will be able to leave the 3-day hotel quarantine early; however, expenses related to the hotel stay may or may not be refunded for the remainder of the time, at the discretion of the quarantine hotel. 
 
  • Isolate for the remainder of the mandatory 14 day quarantine period at a self-designated location or at a government quarantine facility.  
    • If you receive a positive test result, you will be required to isolate for an additional 14-day period that begins on the day the test was taken, and you will be required to contact your local public health authority and follow their directions. 
 
Travelers entering Canada by land or sea will not be required to quarantine at a pre-approved, government-authorized facility for three days prior to departing for their ultimate destination to carry out their 14-day mandatory quarantine. 
 
You may be exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirements under certain conditions, including if you:
 
  • provide essential services
  • maintain the flow of essential goods or people
  • are receiving medical care within 36 hours of entering Canada (non-related to COVID-19)
  • regularly cross the border to work
  • live in an integrated trans-border community
 
Even if your reason for entering Canada may fall under an exemption, you may still have to follow certain provincial and territorial restrictions (which may include quarantine), depending on your destination.
 
Penalties for non-compliance:
Failure to comply with Canada’s quarantine, isolation and other obligations under its Quarantine Act could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. Fines increase to up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years if you break your mandatory quarantine or isolation requirements and you cause the death or serious bodily harm to another person.
 
Please see the Government of Canada’s announcement regarding the updated restrictions and requirements here. You can access additional information and updates at the Public Health Agency of Canada website here or on the government’s Immigration and Citizenship Canada page here.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from our firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


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