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Canada's Travel Rules May Get Even Stricter & Here's Everything You Need To Know

An announcement is expected in the next few days.
Canada's Travel Rules May Get Even Stricter & Here's Everything You Need To Know

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s travel rules have been updated and made stricter on several occasions.

Now, as some people continue to travel against public health advice, the federal government is warning that restrictions could become even more strict.

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Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to avoid all travel — both domestic and international.

He warned that choosing to go on vacation could result in Canadians getting stuck outside of Canada, as the country’s travel rules are subject to change at any time.

In fact, he suggested that more updates were on the horizon.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know:

What are Canada's travel rules right now?

From the outset, the federal government has urged Canadians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel abroad.

More recently, their advice has been ramped up to include avoiding all kinds of discretionary trips. This includes vacations inside Canada, too.

Travel is discouraged to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, but also because officials are concerned that ever-changing restrictions could result in some Canadians getting stranded overseas.

Current restrictions require all incoming air passengers to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.

In addition, anyone entering Canada must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.

Justin Trudeau has warned that these rules are subject to change at any time and travellers could end up stuck outside of the country if the rules were updated without prior notice.

What new rules could come into place?

Speaking on January 22, Trudeau reiterated that taking international trips right now is pretty risky. 

“People should not be planning non-essential travel or vacation travel outside of the country,” he explained. 

“We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada at any given moment without warning,” added the PM.

He revealed that border measures had been discussed in a call with Canada’s premiers and that an announcement was coming in the next few days.

One idea that’s reportedly under consideration is implementing mandatory quarantine at designated hotels, rather than at a traveller’s chosen destination.

It would be a pre-approved facility, allowing officials to check an incoming traveller is completing their quarantine period as required.

Why is there no outright travel ban?

In 2020, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair explained that it would be extremely difficult for the federal government to implement an outright travel ban.

Thanks to Canadians’ constitutional rights, they will always have the right to travel internationally and return back home. 

Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms states, “Canadian citizens have the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada.”

This makes it especially awkward for officials to implement an all-out ban, as the right to go abroad can only be restricted for “justifiable” reasons.

While the government continues to issue advice, their overall position is that it’s up to an individual to decide what counts as essential travel.

Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland has previously confirmed that while it’s “not a good idea” to go abroad, the government “will not stop” anybody who does.

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