Canada extends travel restrictions into the new year

Shelby Thevenot
Published: November 30, 2020

Canadian travel restrictions will continue until January 21.

Canada's border will be closed to foreign nationals who are coming for a non-essential reason. Border officials will turn away any traveller coming for reasons such as recreation, tourism, or entertainment.

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The government is moving the date to align with travel restrictions imposed on U.S. travellers, according to a media release. Current travel restrictions are in place for U.S. travellers until December 21, and are likely to be extended.

Canada is also amending its order and creating a framework for considering applications from high-performance amateur sport organizations seeking to hold International Single Sport Events. Applicants would need to include written commitments of ongoing support from regional governments in order to be considered. They will also need a robust plan to protect public health and the health of participants. The government will be releasing additional information on the Department of Canadian Heritage’s web site.

Some people are already exempt from travel restrictions, such as:

  • Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) or permanent residents;
  • certain people who have been approved for Canadian permanent residence;
  • certain temporary foreign workers;
  • certain international students;
  • protected persons;
  • immediate family members of Canadians;
  • extended family members of Canadians;
  • people coming to Canada for compassionate reasons; or
  • anyone else who falls under the exemptions listed on the government’s webpage.

Originally, travel restrictions went into place from March 18 to June 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Since then, they have been rolled over on a month-by-month basis.

In October, Canada eased travel restrictions on students, and extended family members.

The federal government is also allowing people to come to Canada for compassionate reasons, such as:

  • to be present during the final moments of life for a loved one, or to provide support or care for someone who is critically ill;
  • to provide medical support to a person who needs it; or
  • to attend a funeral, or end of life ceremony.

Before coming to Canada, compassionate travellers can fill out a an application to get limited release from quarantine before the 14 days are up.

Travellers to Alberta may also be able to get early release from quarantine.

The only other exemptions to the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement are:

  • crew members;
  • people invited by the health minister to help with the COVID-19 response, and other healthcare workers;
  • members of visiting forces who are coming to work;
  • people coming to receive medical services within 36 hours of their arrival;
  • crossing the border in a trans-border community;
  • people crossing into Canada aboard a “vessel” for the purposes of research, as long as they stay on the vessel; and
  • other circumstances listed in the new Order in Council.

In all cases, Canadian border services officers have the final say on who gets to enter the country.

Canada has a separate order in place that has also limited cross border travel between it and the U.S. since March. This order was extended earlier this month.

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