Traveling to Canada? For Canadians Residing in the U.S., Returning Home to Canada is Becoming Increasingly Challenging

by Lisa York

Traveling to Canada? For Canadians Residing in the U.S., Returning Home to Canada is Becoming Increasingly Challenging

by Lisa York

by Lisa York

Canada has been vigilant in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly exemplified by Canada’s most recent travel restrictions for those trying to cross the border into Canada via land or air.  Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents and persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act are subject to Canada’s preventative COVID-19 protocols. As such, planning a trip back to Canada from the United States will result in a series of regulated quarantine and testing measures.

Canada’s policies regarding what is required for entry into Canada is changing and evolving almost daily. Therefore, international travelers should check the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website regularly when planning to travel. As of today, Canadians returning home via air travel will be required to adhere to the following protocols:

  • All travelers must wear a non-medical mask or face covering when they arrive in Canada.
  • Before boarding the flight to Canada, travelers must submit a detailed quarantine plan to the Canadian government.
  • All air travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the airline before boarding international flights to Canada. The test must be taken within 72 hours of the scheduled flight departure.
  • Upon arrival in Canada and before leaving the airport, travelers will be required to take another COVID-19 test.
  • Following the arrival test, travelers will need to stay in a pre-authorized hotel for 3 nights while they await the results of the COVID-19 test they received on arrival.      
    • Note that travelers must pay for their hotel, as well as all associated costs for food, cleaning and security (and potentially COVID testing)

All hotels will be located near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights:

  1. Vancouver International Airport
  2. Calgary International Airport
  3. Toronto Pearson International Airport
  4. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport
  • Once released from the hotel through a negative COVID-19 test, travelers must then still quarantine for 14 days and must take another COVID-19 test at the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • Travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms or who develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the hotel stay or quarantine period will be required to comply with mandatory isolation instructions.
  • Limited groups of people are exempt from these policies. See the CBSA website for more information on who is exempt.
  • There are very harsh monetary penalties for failure to comply with these preventative measures.

Similarly, Canadians seeking to enter Canada via land will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival at the border. Beginning on February 22, 2021, Canadians returning home will also be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada as well as at the conclusion of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Travelers entering by land also must submit a detailed quarantine plan in advance of their arrival into Canada.

Given the increase of new COVID-19 variants and the limited number of available vaccines doses, Canada is putting into place some of the strictest travel and border restrictions in the world and is sending a strong message to their citizens and residents that now is not the time for international travel.

For more and updated information, see: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/canadians-canadiens-eng.html; https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html 

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