In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has announced new rules around international travel.

The government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries from January 31 until April 30, 2021.

Also, starting at midnight on February 3, Canada will expand its international flight restrictions that funnel scheduled international commercial flights into four Canadian airports – Vancouver International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.

These new restrictions include scheduled commercial passenger flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which were previously exempt.

Private/business and charter flights from all countries will also be required to land at those four airports.

In the coming weeks, Canada will also introduce additional requirements for international travellers arriving in the country. All air travellers arriving in Canada will be required to reserve a room at a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost and take a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test upon arrival, also at their own cost.

This newly required test is in addition to the required negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before boarding an international flight to Canada.

All air travellers arriving in Canada are still required to quarantine for 14 days.

The Government of Canada will also introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement for travellers arriving in Canada by land.

To ensure travellers’ awareness and compliance with quarantine requirements, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with security companies to help complete compliance checks for travellers arriving in Canada. Employees of these companies were trained by the PHAC and authorized as screening officers under Canada’s Quarantine Act.

The screening officers will visit travellers’ quarantine locations to establish contact, confirm identity and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon arrival in Canada. The new screening officers will conduct visits in 35 countries across the country, starting in Montréal and Toronto.

Published on Jan. 29, 2021.