On March 18, 2020 air travel restrictions were issued for all non-Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents and their immediate relatives entering into Canada and for “non-essential” travel for those traveling through the U.S./Canada land border. Although there were exceptions to the restrictions, there has been uncertainty regarding the categories of foreign nationals who would still be able to enter the Country. As a result, on March 20, 2020, the Government of Canada published a list of exemptions to the air travel restrictions and what constitutes “essential travel” for land border crossings. As per Canada’s health screening protocols, all individuals entering internationally, must self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival into Canada.

The exemptions include:

  • Temporary Foreign Workers – seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
  • International Students – only students who held a valid, approved study permit prior to March 18, 2020 (the date the travel restrictions went into effect)
  • Permanent Resident Applicants – those approved for permanent residence prior to March 16, 2020, but have not yet travelled to Canada

Therefore, if you have a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) that was issued prior to March 16th, you may enter Canada.

In addition, due to the burdens facing employers in the Food Processing industry, for the next 6 months, the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process for agricultural and food processing employers, which required a 2-week recruitment period, will be removed. These “Low Wage Stream” temporary foreign workers, will have an increased work permit duration from 1 to 2 years.

Temporary Foreign Workers in the food industry such as agriculture, seafood processing, agri-food and other key industries are permitted to enter Canada despite the March 18th travel restrictions in order to continue with trade, commerce, health and food security for all Canadians.