The Canadian government has extended the current travel ban on most international travellers until July 31, 2020, which will affect entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons, such as immediate family members of citizens, some international students, and temporary workers in essential services.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has implemented travel restrictions for all ports of entry and all modes of transportation (air, land, sea and rail) into Canada. The mandatory 14-day self-isolation under the Quarantine Act for any non-essential workers entering Canada remains in effect until the end of August.
Initially, the Canadian border shut down occurred on March 16th, when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Non-Canadian citizens, with limited exceptions, were banned entry into Canada to limit the spread of COVID-19. The extensions continued, with the most recent expiring on June 30th. The current extension on the foreign travel ban was made through a federal order recommended by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, dated June 29th.
The ban allows permanent Canadian residents, the immediate family members(as of June 8th) of Canadian citizens, as well as diplomats and air crews, to come into Canada, though anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 will still not be allowed to enter Canada.
The CBSA indicates that the extension is for public health reasons. The government’s reasoning is stated in part to be because “the introduction or spread of the disease would pose an imminent and severe risk to public health in Canada, the entry of persons into Canada who have recently been in a foreign country may introduce or contribute to the spread of the disease in Canada, and no reasonable alternatives to prevent the introduction or spread of the disease are available”.
For those travelling from the U.S., there is a separate ban governing U.S. and Canada travel restrictions which has been renewed until July 21st, for all “optional” and/or“discretionary travel”, prohibiting travel for tourism or recreation. According to Rebecca Purdy, a spokesperson of the CBSA, the aim of this travel ban is “to protect Canadians and to ease the potential burden non-essential travellers could place on our health care system and its frontline workers, the CBSA has implemented travel restrictions across all ports of entry in all modes of transportation… All travel of an optional or discretionary nature, including tourism and recreation, is covered by these measures”.
Canadians are also reminded to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country, despite many countries opening up their borders. There are currently over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 8600 deaths.