It has been approximately one year since Canada first instituted travel restrictions that prevented the entry of many international travellers to Canada. Prior to that time, many immigration lawyers never had much need for Orders-in-Council or gave much thought to the possible impact of the Quarantine Act. But since that time, we have been bombarded at least monthly with orders and policy changes that directly impact our practices. As the federal and provincial governments take steps that they feel are necessary to protect their populations from the virus, it has become more and more difficult to keep track of the laws and policies that directly impact our clients travelling to Canada. Below are the top ten current considerations related to COVID-19 for international travellers coming to Canada.
Land/Water, or Air Travel
While the distinction between the various methods of travel into Canada is shrinking, there are still some different considerations for those entering through a land or water border, as compared to those who are flying into Canada. It is important to ensure that you are aware of your client’s intended mode of travel to ensure that you are providing them with the correct information regarding requirements for entry. If travelling by air, clients must also be made aware that international arrivals are currently limited to four (4) airports – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
Canada has been closed to all non-essential international travel for approximately a year. However, many of our clients will insist that their entry is essential. While exemptions from travel restrictions have remained relatively consistent since they were first introduced last year, the policy considerations surrounding entry for certain individuals, such as immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens or spouses and children accompanying a principal applicant with a work permit letter of introduction, continue to change. It is necessary to ensure that travellers identify the correct exemption from travel restrictions that is applicable to their particular circumstances and ensure that they are following the most recent policy to secure their entry. Otherwise, travellers may find that they are denied boarding their flights, despite qualifying for entry.