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Canada imposes travel ban on all countries, except the US to curb coronavirus spread

On March 13th, 2020 the Public Health Agency of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada in view of the worldwide pandemic and the rapidly evolving situation globally, and to self- isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada.

The Government announced the deferral of the start of the cruise ship season to mitigate the unique risks posed by large passenger ships arriving at Canadian ports. As a result, all cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew are prohibited from Canadian ports. And cruise ships are prohibited from arctic waters for the entire 2020 season due to the very limited public health infrastructure available.

Banning entry of foreign nationals by air travel from all countries except the U.S.

Under the Aeronautics Act, the Minister of Transport will require air carriers on flights to Canada to deny boarding to any passenger who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and has resided in any country other than the U.S. in the last 14 days.

For practical purposes, the denial of boarding would apply to:

  • all foreign nationals on flights to Canada other than trans-border flights, and
  • any foreign national on a trans-border flight who has resided outside the US and Canada in the last 14 days.

In simple terms, you cannot board a plane to Canada if you have been outside of Canada or the United States in the last 14 days, unless you are a Canadian Citizen, Canadian Permanent Resident or in transit to a 3rd country.

The measure will come into force on Wednesday, March 18, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT. It would not apply to air crews, travelers arriving in Canada in transit to a third country, Canadian Permanent Residents, diplomats, or immediate family members of Canadian citizens.

As this measure applies to travel by air, it does not apply to surface traffic or marine shipping.

Support for Impacted Canadians Abroad

The Government recommended that Canadian travellers who wish to return to Canada seek to do so via commercial means while they remain available.

The Government is enhancing its support to impacted Canadians abroad through the creation of a recoverable financial assistance program for Canadian travellers and will also fund expanded access to a range of support services abroad to provide extraordinary support to Canadians directly affected by COVID-19 and who are unable to immediately return.

Consolidation of international inbound flights to four major hubs only

The Government will redirect some international passenger flight arrivals to four airports – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.

Domestic flights, as well as flights from the United States, sun destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean, and from St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, are not affected by this measure and can continue to operate on their regular routes and land at current Canadian destinations.

The change will come into effect on Wednesday, March 18, at 12:01 a.m. EDT. The Government is working closely with the airline industry and airports to avoid unnecessarily disrupting operations and minimize inconveniencing travelers.

Given existing international flight patterns, the vast majority of international flights are already arriving at these four airports. In light of the new policy, both the Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada will ensure a sufficient increase in their resources at all four airports.

Both the Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada will ensure a sufficient increase in their available resources at all four airports.

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