Canada eases travel restrictions for families, compassionate travel

Shelby Thevenot
Updated: Aug, 21, 2023
  • Published: October 2, 2020

Canada is opening up the border to allow extended family members of Canadians, and people crossing the border for compassionate reasons to enter the country starting Oct. 8.

Extended family members who will be able to come to Canada next week include:

  • couples who have been in an exclusive dating relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least one year, and who have spent time in the physical presence of their Canadian partner during the relationship, as well as their dependent children;
  • the children of Canadians who are over the age 22, and are not considered dependent children;
  • grandchildren;
  • siblings including half and step-siblings; and
  • grandparents.

Get help reuniting with a family member

These people will not need an essential reason to come to Canada as long as they are staying for more than 15 days, and meet existing eligibility and admissibility requirements. They will also need:

  • to provide IRCC with required documentation, including a completed and signed statutory declaration to show they meet the definition of an "extended family member" of a Canadian;
  • to travel with a valid passport and travel document such as a visitors visa, or electronic travel authorization;
  • to have written authorization from IRCC to travel to Canada as an extended family member.

"Like all travellers, extended family members will be subject to all public health measures, including the mandatory 14‑day quarantine period upon arrival in Canada,"  according to the IRCC media release. "The final decision on who can enter Canada is made by a border services officer at a port of entry."

Contact a lawyer for a free consultation on family reunification

IRCC says more information, such as the definition of extended family, as well as the process and requirements, will be available on October 8. They say that extended family members should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all the necessary authorizations to come to Canada under the new rules.

Compassionate reasons for travel to be exempt from restrictions

Foreign nationals will also be able to come to Canada for compassionate reasons, including being present during the final moments of life for a loved one, providing support to critically ill people, and caring for people who require medical support. They may also attend a funeral or end-of-life ceremony.

Though mandatory quarantine rules are still in place, certain people will be able to get a limited release from isolation for compassionate reasons. The limited release from quarantine will also apply to Canadians returning to Canada from abroad.

Information on how to request the exemption for compassionate reasons and limited release from mandatory quarantine will be available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website on October 8. Provinces and territories may have additional requirements.

"The updates announced today respond to the needs of Canadian families who have been separated from their loved ones by international borders, some of whom are facing the most difficult period of their lives," read a quote attributed to Mendicino in a media release.

Get help reuniting with a family member. Contact a lawyer for a free consultation.

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

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