Responding to COVID-19
Canada-U.S. Border Closure Extended to February 21, 2021
The Government of Canada's restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border that was initially implemented on March 21, 2020, has been extended again to at least February 21, 2021. 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.
Pre-departure COVID-19 testing and negative results for air travellers coming to Canada
As of January 7, 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.
Travelling to Canada? Download the ArriveCAN App
As part of Canada’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent new cases, all travellers are required to provide specific information before entering the country. This includes an appropriate quarantine plan, contact information, and updates on symptoms through a self-assessment. The Government of Canada’s ArriveCAN mobile application provides a digital way for travellers entering Canada by land, air or sea to provide their basic traveller information, including a 14-day quarantine plan and a self-assessment of symptoms, as required by recent Emergency Orders under the Quarantine Act. To learn more about the app, watch the video below, and download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
Download the Government of Canada's COVID Alert app
COVID Alert can help Canada break the cycle of infection. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear. The app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones. Every day, it checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive. If you've been near one of those codes in the past 14 days, you'll get a notification. COVID Alert is available for download to all Canadians, and one-time keys provided by health authorities are now available to the people of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The Government of Canada continues to work with the other provinces and territories to bring their health authorities on board in the coming weeks and months. Find out more about the app. Download the app from the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play.
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, 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.
How to Request a Refund/Make a Claim:
To request a refund on your trip or make a claim on your travel insurance, you must contact your booking agent or travel insurer directly. Their contact information will be in the confirmation/travel documents you received when booking your trip. Please be aware that travel-related organizations are experiencing an unprecedented number of customer calls/requests. If your trip is not imminent (e.g. within the next 72 hours), please wait to call to allow companies to deal with the most urgent requests/emergencies.
Up-to-date travel advisories from the Canadian Government are available here.
Frequently Asked Travel Insurance Questions:
Find answers to some frequently asked questions about travel health insurance coverage during COVID-19 here
Please direct your media inquiries to Ryah Kazman, Media Profile
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.