2020-03-25 – Canadian citizens and permanent residents from all over the world have flooded home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Canada Border Services Agency says more than a million people have returned by air, land and sea since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the call to return.
Statistics show nearly 960,000 citizens and nearly 44,000 returned between March 14 and March 20.
The mass return comes after Canada barred entry to everyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident to help battle the coronavirus crisis.
The Canada-US border has also closed to all non-essential travel in a measure designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Canada recently released new guidance on who is exempt from travel restrictions.
Exemptions have been announced for temporary foreign workers, study permit holders and approved permanent residents who had not yet travelled, BUT THESE ARE YET TO COME INTO EFFECT.
If you are a member of this group, you should wait for an announcement before you travel. It is expected this week.
Who Can Travel To Canada?
- Canadian citizens and permanent residents
- Close family members of Canadian citizens.
- Close family members of Canadian permanent residents.
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Canadian government for a purpose related to the containment of COVID-19.
- A person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members.
- A person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.
- Accredited diplomats and family members (including NATO, those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations).
- Any foreign national, or group of foreign nationals, whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Public Safety.
- Members of the Canadian military, visiting forces and their family members.
- Transiting passengers.
Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 is not allowed to board flights to Canada, with air operators required to complete a basic health check on every passenger.
Further, international flights are now only allowed to land at airports in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
Financial assistance is being provided to help Canadian travellers with the costs of returning home or to cover their needs while they wait.
To help stop the coronavirus spread, the Canada Border Services Agency has boosted staff, education and screening at airports and other entry points.
Travellers from any international location are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, after being asked if they have coronavirus symptoms: fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.