Canada Extends International Travel Restrictions

Canada has extended the Mandatory Isolation Order and temporary travel restrictions for all non-U.S. travelers, unless their travel is for non-discretionary reasons, to November 30, 2020.

Temporary Canada-U.S. border restrictions for all non-discretionary travel came into effect on March 21, 2020 and have been renewed until November 21, 2020.

Effective October 31, people who leave Canada but are denied access to the U.S. and must remain in their car to immediately return to Canada are no longer required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The government has also made some practical adjustments to provisions allowing limited Canada-U.S. cross-border travel, in a few specific circumstances. 

Effective October 31, 2020, residents of Campobello Island, New Brunswick; Stewart, British Columbia; Northwest Angle, Minnesota; and Hyder, Alaska will be exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine only to access the necessities of life (e.g., food, medical services) from the nearest Canadian or American community. In addition, students from Canada and the U.S. who regularly cross the border to attend school, along with one driver, and children who are subject to shared custody arrangements, along with one parent, are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine. The new provisions to ease pressures related to cross-border students are conditional upon support from provincial and local public health authorities.

The government is allowing limited exemptions to mandatory quarantine to enable COVID-testing pilot projects, in coordination with provincial authorities. The Canadian government  also intends to implement new mandatory requirements for the electronic submission of information through the ArriveCAN app or website. The ArriveCAN app was created as a secure and user-friendly alternative to the paper contact form to help travelers comply with these border measures. This will allow traveler information to be shared quickly and securely with provinces and territories to facilitate contacting travelers for public health follow-up. It will also facilitate compliance verification by law enforcement. These new requirements will come into effect on November 21. Exceptions will be made for those who are unable to submit documents electronically due to personal circumstances.

Transport Canada has also announced the extension of measures pertaining to cruise ships and pleasure craft until February 28, 2021. This means that cruise ships with overnight accommodations carrying more than 100 people continue to be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters. All other passenger vessels must continue following provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority guidance. Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people continue to be prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast. Adventure-seeking pleasure craft also continue to be banned in Arctic waters.

Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue following federal guidance and provincial, territorial, local and regional protocols, as well as mitigation measures, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, as well as enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.

The Canadian government reminds anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or who has recently come into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, to continue to quarantine or isolate for 14 days. At all Canadian ports of entry, border services officers will make the final determination of eligibility to enter Canada for non-citizens and non-permanent residents.

Read the announcement at Public Safety Canada

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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