This page provides a running list of updates to travel information and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The topmost information is most recent, with subsequent information moving backward in chronological order.
Canada-US Border remains closed until at least March 21, 2021
Canada, the United States and Mexico have agreed to keep their land borders shut down through at least March 21, 2021, a full year after the Canada-US border was initially closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Potential travellers should consult the Border Information Service for information.
Examples of discretionary/optional travel include:
If you do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and must cross the border for work or other non-discretionary purposes, you may continue to do so. Some examples of non-discretionary travel purposes are:
- work and study
- critical infrastructure support
- economic services and supply chains
- health, immediate medical care, safety and security
Some persons working in the health care field are considered exempt from the border prohibition. This is the case as long as they do not provide direct care for people over 65 years of age within the first 14 days of their entry into Canada.
Even if you are permitted to cross the border, mandatory quarantine measures may still apply upon your return to Canada.
Travel Restriction Update - Februrary 22, 2021
With new COVID-19 variant detections increasing in the country, the Government of Canada has implemented further testing and quarantine requirements for travellers arriving to Canada’s air and land ports of entry.
For travellers arriving to Canada by land
- All travellers, with limited exceptions, are required to provide proof of a negative result of COVID-19 molecular test taken in the United States within 72 hours of arrival;
- In addition, travellers entering Canada at the land border are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.
For travellers arriving to Canada by air
- All travellers, with limited exceptions, are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period;
- All air travellers, with limited exceptions, are also required to reserve a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel;
- These new measures are in addition to the existing requirement to provide proof of a negative result of a COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of their scheduled flight.
For all travellers arriving by land or air
- All travellers are required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.
The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel, including vacation plans, outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada. Now is not the time to travel.
- Information for travellers arriving by land
- Additional testing and more stringent quarantine requirements for travel to Canada
- COVID-19: Travel, quarantine and borders
- COVID-19 measures, updates, and guidance issued by Transport Canada
- Travel.gc.ca/travel-covid (including the list of government-authorized hotels)
We invite you to follow us on @TravelGoC and to amplify our content and share this message on your social media platforms. You might also consider posting a “do not travel” alert on your website’s home page. #nowisnotthetime
Canada Announces Tighter Travel Restrictions
On January 29, 2021, Canada’s Prime Minister announced new travel restrictions and protocols to prevent new variants of the coronavirus from entering the country.
The government has negotiated with Canada’s main airlines (Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing and Air Transat) to suspend service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting Sunday, January 31, 2021, up until April 30, 2021. The airlines will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently in those regions to bring them back to Canada.
Starting next week all international passenger flights must land at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal airports. In addition to the pre-boarding COVID test that is currently required, in the coming weeks, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. Travellers will have to quarantine up to 3 days at an approved hotel waiting for their results at their own expense. This hotel quarantine is expected to cost $2000 per traveller. If they receive a negative test result, they can continue to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. Anyone with a positive COVID-19 test will be immediately required to quarantine in a government facility to finish their 14-day quarantine to ensure they don’t have the variant. This stay at the government facility will not be at their expense.
In the coming weeks, non-essential travellers will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before entry at the land border with the US and the Government of Canada is working to create stronger measures for land travel
Pre-departure COVID-19 testing and negative results for air travellers coming to Canada
As of January 7, 2021, all passengers five years of age or older, are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling by air from another country to Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to coming to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada.
All travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if not suitable, will be asked to quarantine in a federal quarantine facility. Travellers to Canada must use ArriveCAN and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry.
The Government of Canada has taken action to increase surveillance and enforcement of these mandatory quarantine restrictions. Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
Canadians who are currently travelling and returning to Canada should start immediately arranging for a COVID-19 test, to avoid a delay in their return to Canada. Canadians who are planning to travel abroad should consider how they will meet these requirements before departure.
Government of Canada's Level 3 Travel Advisory Still in Effect
The Public Health Agency of Canada is advising travellers to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As foreign governments implement strict travel restrictions and international transportation options continue to become less available, you may have difficulty returning to Canada or may be unable to do so. Local authorities may impose control measures suddenly, including movement restrictions such as quarantine. In some countries, travellers may have limited access to timely and appropriate health care should they become ill.
The Government of Canada's Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act requires persons entering Canada by air, sea or land to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Advisory: Planning out-of-country travel? Make talking with your insurer part of your plans
A recent survey found that 20 per cent of Canadians plan to travel outside the country once the current COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted. If you are among them, travel insurers are urging you to take some extra steps to make sure you are protected from the unexpected. To find out more about this advice, read the information in the Consumer News section of this site.
COVID-19: Global Affairs Canada reminds Canadians to follow official travel advice
While some countries are preparing to partially open up their borders, the Government of Canada wants to remind all Canadians that a global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada remains in effect. It also continues to advise travellers to avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice.
Over the last few months, Global Affairs Canada undertook Canada’s largest and most complex ever consular operation to help Canadians return home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada has largely completed that operation and is planning the final few remaining flights in the next weeks. Additional facilitated flights to bring Canadians home are not anticipated. Although it is doing all it can to support Canadians outside the country, it recognizes that many may need to remain abroad.
The Government of Canada strongly advises Canadians to follow the government’s official travel advice to ensure your personal safety and security. It encourages Canadians to talk to their travel insurance provider about extending their insurance policy should they need to and to find out whether they are covered for medical treatment if they become infected with COVID-19.
It acknowledges that the lives of Canadians outside Canada have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who remain abroad may experience difficulty in obtaining essential products and services and may face strict public health measures, movement restrictions and quarantines.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada continues to work with governments around the world to ensure Canadians abroad receive all necessary medical and ongoing support.
If you are currently abroad, you should:
- consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories on Travel.gc.ca regularly for information on measures put in place at your location
- read our advice for Canadians abroad at Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
- sign up with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive important updates
- stay up to date on developing situations through our Travel Smart app and our Twitter and Facebook channels
The government's top priority remains the health and safety of Canadians. If you need medical attention or psychological support while abroad, our officers can help you find local emergency services and the nearest hospital. Contact the nearest Government of Canada office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre for assistance.
- Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada
- COVID-19: Financial help if you are outside Canada
- Travel insurance
- Request emergency assistance
- Embassies and consulates
- About consular services
- Travel Advice and Advisories
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
Canadians Urged to Return Home
The Government of Canada has strongly urged all Canadians to return to Canada immediately. This is an unprecedented order to protect travellers’ health. Given the current and constantly evolving COVID-19 situation throughout the world, the member companies of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) strongly advise all Canadians currently abroad to follow the Government of Canada’s recommendation to return to Canada as soon as possible.
More information about this is available here.
Mandatory Isolation for Returning Travellers
On March 25th, 2020 Canada's Minister of Health announced an Emergency Order that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Failure to comply with this order could result in a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. The government plans to conduct spot checks to verify compliance.
Preventing and Slowing the Spread
Follow these guidelines to help reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. THIA members are dedicated to providing services and coverage to support all travelling Canadians. You can find information about how to be a smart traveller on THIA’s website: www.thiaonline.com/consumer-resources.html.