Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 4 significant changes regarding international travel:
1. Cancelled flights from Mexico and the Caribbean
Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing and WestJet have all agreed to cancel flights to Mexico and the Caribbean starting on Sunday, January 31. The airlines will make arrangements for travellers abroad to return to Canada. This flight suspension will remain in place until April 30.
2. Limited Arrival Airports
All international flights, including those coming from the United States of America, will land in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary or Montreal .
It remains unclear what the procedure will be for travellers destined to a different province, and whether it will be possible to take a domestic flight to the final destination before quarantining. For example, travellers with destinations of Manitoba or the Atlantic Provinces currently have 14-day quarantine requirements of their own, which would lead to double the quarantine time.
3. Mandatory testing and hotel quarantine on arrival
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, within the coming weeks, PCR testing will be implemented at the four airports and travellers will be mandated to quarantine in hotels, at their expense, until the test results come back. This could take up to 3 days at the expense of $2000.00 per person under quarantine. Those with negative results will be able to complete the remainder of their quarantine at home, with another test on day 10. In addition, there will be stricter enforcement and surveillance of those in-home quarantine situations. Those who test positive will be transferred to another government facility.
The Government also recently clarified that the requirement for those who have tested positive in the previous 14-90 days is to show your positive results from a COVID-19 test conducted 14-90 days before your departure. Those who previously tested positive for COVID-19 may continue to test positive even after recovery. This clarification allows these people to board a flight even though they may not be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced that international travelers arriving at Pearson International Airport will have to undergo mandatory testing as of Monday, February 1.
4. Test results required at land-border points of entry
Up until now, the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test result was only in place for travellers arriving via air. It is likely that this pre-travel testing requirement will extend to those entering Canada at a land border. What is unclear with whether hotel quarantining will apply to those entering Canada at a land border.
Please note that the information released today by Prime Minister Trudeau requires more details to flush out precisely how entry to Canada will be affected. We have been advised that any changes may be made without notice and so it is critical to make sure that are apprised of the most up-to-date information before you travel in and out of Canada. Please contact us if you have a specific travel related question.