New Rules For International Travel

·3 min read

The Government of Canada announced new restrictions for international travel on Jan. 29, 2021. The new measures are meant to protect against the further introduction and spread of COVID-19, and its new variants, in Canada. Non-essential international travel is not recommended at this time, and some of these new restrictions are intended to discourage people from doing so.

As part of these measures, Canada’s airlines will suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries from Jan. 31 until Apr. 30, 2021.

Current international flight restrictions funnel most scheduled international commercial passenger flights to either the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, or Vancouver International Airport. As of midnight, Feb. 3, 2021, flights from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America will also be subject to these restrictions, as will all private, business, and charter flights. Flights that carry only cargo, and flights from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon will remain exempt

Currently, all travellers five years of age or older who are flying into Canada are required to provide proof of a negative laboratory COVID-19 test from within the last 72 hours before they are able to board their flight. They will soon also be required to reserve a room at their own expense at a Government of Canada approved hotel for three nights. On arrival in Canada, they will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test, also at their own cost. They will then have to quarantine at the approved hotel for up to three days while waiting for the results of the COVID-19 test taken at the airport. Travellers will be required to pay for this hotel stay and all of the associated costs, including food, cleaning, and security. These new requirements could cost up to $2000 for each traveller.

Travellers will still be required to quarantine for 14 days. Those who test positive will isolate in designated government facilities, and those who test negative will be able to isolate at home for the rest of the 14-day period.

At some point, the Government of Canada will also be adding a requirement for proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test from within the last 72 hours for travellers entering Canada by land. There will be limited exceptions to this restriction, such as for commercial truck drivers.

To ensure that people comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with four security companies to assist with compliance checks. PHAC has awarded contracts to The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, G4S Secure Solutions (Canada) Ltd., Garda Canada Security Corporation (GardaWorld), and Paladin Risk Solutions and is training employees of these security companies to be authorized Screening Officers. They will contact travellers and confirm their identities, confirm that travellers are quarantining at the location they identified when they entered Canada, and ensure that they are following the 14-day quarantine requirements. These new Screening Officers will complete these visits in 35 cities across Canada, beginning in Montreal and Toronto on Jan. 29, 2021.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette