The winter holiday season is traditionally one of, if not the busiest time for travelling in Canada, and throughout most of the world. The increase in traffic during the holiday season has conventionally led to longer wait times for travel and increased complications because of the volume of people who seek to travel during the busy holiday season. Indeed this holiday season, many flights were cancelled or delayed due to inclement weather and staffing shortages, causing those impacted to miss important holidays and vacations.
Now, travel is more complicated than it has been in a very long time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries around the world instituted new travel policies that have been in flux since the spread of the virus began in earnest in March 2020. Canada had some of the strictest regulations regarding travel into the country until earlier this year, when many of the restrictions were lifted. However, some restrictions on entry into Canada remain, and it is important for those who are planning to travel to Canada to be aware of the prevailing regulations in order to have the best chance of being permitted to enter Canada upon arrival.
Those who are travelling abroad from Canada may want to consider reviewing the Canadian Government’s travel advisory page. The travel advisories give a status for each foreign destination and detail the risks that travellers may face should they travel to a country with a travel advisory.
There is currently a blanket level 2 travel health notice for COVID-19 related to travel to all countries. This means the Canadian Government advises that there is an increased risk of travelling and is encouraging travellers to practise enhanced health precautions. Beyond travel advisories, travellers may also experience restrictive regulations for entry into foreign countries, so it is important to be informed before embarking on a trip.
Canadian travel regulations have been constantly in flux since the beginning of the pandemic.
Travellers should keep up with these frequent changes since entry to Canada will only be allowed if certain conditions are met. Several iterations of border restrictions have taken place in Canada, including distinguishing between essential and non-essential travellers, mandating quarantines for travellers entering the country, requiring COVID-19 testing prior to entry, requiring declarations to be made using an app before entry, and limiting access to Canada for those who are not vaccinated.
However, a few months ago, the rules for entry into Canada were greatly relaxed, which should be a relief to travellers seeking to gain entry into Canada.
Currently, there is no requirement to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entry or upon arrival in Canada, and the random testing regime enforced at Canada’s borders has also been discontinued.
After-entry quarantine requirements have been lifted, and masks are no longer required for planes or trains, though they are still recommended. Use of the ArriveCAN app is also no longer required for entry. However, the Canadian Government does recommend using the ArriveCan app to complete customs and make other declarations before travelling to Canada to save time at the border.
Most of these changes have taken place in tandem with changes made to travel around the world in an effort to restore pre-Pandemic travel conditions. In the future, new restrictions on travel to Canada may be implemented in response to new viral outbreaks, but they are likely to be focused on specific countries as opposed to being worldwide restrictions. The Canadian government has already had to institute regulations from specific countries that are still struggling with high COVID-19 cases.
There has been a recent surge in cases of the COVID-19 virus in China, and many countries of the world have reacted to the uptick by reinstituting travel bans on visitors from China. The United Kingdom, the United States, France, and many other countries have instituted COVID-19 testing for passengers arriving from China. Now, Canada has followed suit and is imposing restrictions on travellers to Canada who are coming from China as a temporary public health measure. The restrictions will be in place for 30 days or more if extended. This temporary public health measure brings with it new regulations that travellers from China must follow.
As of January 5, 2023, air travellers aged two and older arriving in Canada from China, Hong Kong, or Macau must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to departure in order to be allowed entry into Canada.
Alternatively, travellers can provide documentation confirming they tested positive for COVID-19 more than ten days before their departure flight but not more than 90 days beforehand. These measures apply to anyone travelling from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, regardless of nationality or citizenship. This means that Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents coming back into Canada will also be subject to these regulations.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to practicing immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process as COVID-19 regulations continue to change. Our team of experienced professionals will work with you to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure your application is positioned for success.
The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law continue to monitor the immigration changes concerning COVID-19 and will provide updates when regulations change. Should you have any questions about immigration applications during these uncertain times, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.
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