Effective, timely and well-executed lockdowns in certain countries have helped slow down COVID-19’s rapid spread, but the novel coronavirus still continues to disrupt millions of lives around the world. Certain European countries are even faced with the prospect of a ‘second wave’ of the virus’ spread. Therefore, Canadian authorities have decided to not relax the mandatory 14-day quarantine restriction they had placed back in March upon all international travellers, Canadian nationals and permanent residents of Canada hoping to enter the country.
The Government of Canada’s stance of denying entry to foreign nationals traveling to Canada for discretionary or optional reasons remains firm, as it continues to urge people to only travel to Canada for non-discretionary reasons or due to unavoidable circumstances. So if you’re planning on flying to Canada be sure to check whether the purpose of your visit qualifies as ‘non-discretionary’, otherwise you’ll be at the risk of being denied entry into the country.
Who can travel to Canada during COVID-19 restrictions in 2020?
Some foreign nationals who are ‘eligible’ to enter into Canada at present: immediate family members, travellers coming directly from the US for unavoidable purposes, temporary foreign workers, certain foreign students, permanent residency applicants whose permanent residency has been approved. It is important to note that according to the Government of Canada, attending a close one’s funeral or meeting a dying relative isn’t considered ‘non-discretionary’.
The government’s stance on foreign nationals trying to gain entry into the country is clear: if you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, you’ll be denied entry straightaway. If you are a Canadian national or permanent resident exhibiting mild symptoms of the virus, it’s imperative for you to strictly isolate. Even if you do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 at the port of entry, you will still have to quarantine yourself for two weeks.
It is mandatory for all travellers to furnish a comprehensive ‘quarantine plan’ at the port of entry (POE); which if deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ by the port authorities would almost certainly result in you being denied entry into Canada. An ideal Canada travel quarantine plan consists of:
- Information about your accommodation.
- How you will reach your destination from the port of entry.
- How you’ll transit to procure essential products and services such as groceries or medicines.
There may be huge repercussions to not following or flouting your quarantine plan such as a hefty fine of around $750,000 or even imprisonment of up to 6 months.
However, certain essential service providers who travel to Canada from the US on a daily basis are exempted from the quarantine restrictions. For a smoother and swifter process at the Canadian border, it is best to download the Canada Border Services Agency’s app ‘ArriveCap’; which allows you to submit certain information and details in advance.
As an additional layer of security, you should consider downloading the COVID-19 Alert app on your mobile phone, which employs Bluetooth technology to detect people who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms around you.
Finally, prepare a comprehensive two-week quarantine plan, and travel to Canada only if it is truly imperative.