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Restrictions on travel to Canada: what’s new?

Written by
Mathews Dinsdale, Canada’s only national labour and employment law firm.
On 29 January 2021, the government of Canada announced several new requirements for travellers entering Canada in a further attempt to curb the rapid transmission of COVID-19 and its variants.

All air travellers (including Canadians and Permanent Residents) with limited exceptions, will be required to:   

  • take a second molecular COVID test on entry to Canada; 
  • stay in a governmentapproved quarantine hotel for at least the first three days after entry to Canada. If the traveller’s test taken on entry to Canada is negative, they may then continue to their quarantine location for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period. At the end of this quarantine period, they must take an additional molecular COVID test. The hotel stay and additional testing will be at the traveller’s expense. Costs will be approximately CAD 2000 per person.  
  • As of 15 February 2021, travellers entering Canada at a land border will be required to provide a negative molecular test result, taken no more than 72 hours before entry. Land travellers will also be required to take an additional test on entry to Canada and another test near the end of their 14-day quarantine period.


These new restrictions will be in addition to the already required non-essential travel, 14-day quarantine and negative PCR COVID test result. Please see our articles related to the negative PCR test requirement pre-departure to Canada, and on mandatory information requirements on arrival using ArriveCan. 

While border officers cannot deny entry to Canadians, anyone without valid test results could be issued a fine of up to CAD 3000. Similar to the air-travel testing obligation, exemptions from this requirement are extremely limited.

In addition to the above, Canada has suspended all flights on all Canadian airlines to and from Canada and Mexico and all Caribbean countries from 31 January 2021 to 30 April 2021.  

These new requirements will impact employers who have employees travelling for essential purposes. Timelines will need to be adjusted to take into account these additional requirements.  

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