• Insights

Canada implements partial border closure

Written by
Mathews Dinsdale, Canada’s only national labour and employment law firm.
Canada has closed its borders to non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with limited exceptions. The border between Canada and the US is also closed. This article sets out details.  

On 16 March 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will be closing its borders to all those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents (‘PR’). Exceptions include aircrew, diplomats and immediate family members of Canadian citizens and PRs.

All other individuals, including temporary workers, students and visitors, will not be able to return unless they provide an essential service. Those who are providing an essential service and are currently out of the country may be allowed to return. As of 18 March 2020, the Canada-USA border has been closed to all non-essential travel; the first time since 9-11.

The Government of Canada has also requested that Canadians and PRs abroad return to Canada, immediately. Regardless of citizenship, any traveller (including Canadians and PRs) that are demonstrating signs of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board an aircraft destined for Canada. Canadians who are abroad and are asymptomatic may be able to receive funding from the Federal government to assist them in returning to Canada.


The government has requested that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel. As of 18 March 2020, only four Canadian airports will accept international flights: Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Domestic flights (flights within Canada) and flights from the US, Mexico St. Pierre, Miquelon and the Caribbean will not be impacted.

There will be additional health assessments at the airport, land and rail ports of entry. Anyone who has returned to Canada or will be returning to Canada will be requested to self-isolate for 14 days.



Katie Van Nostrand
Katie Van Nostrand
Partner - Canada
Mathews Dinsdale
Natasha Lakhani
Associate - Canada
Mathews Dinsdale