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Canada refines the definition of essential travel for restrictions during Coronavirus

Posted on May 6, 2020
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Canada Travel Visa

Canada is one of the several countries to have implemented travel restrictions to control Coronavirus spread. It did allow exemptions for ‘essential’ travel, though. The following are among the list of people allowed to enter Canada by land or air while travel restrictions remain in effect until 30 June 2020:

  • Individuals holding valid Canadian work permits or study permits from Canada
  • Persons approved by IRPA for a study permit before March 18 but who have not yet received it
  • Persons approved by IRPA as permanent residents before March 18 but who have not yet become one
  • Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident comprising the spouse or common-law partner, the minor child of the person or the spouse of the person, the parent or stepparent of the person or the spouse of the person

These restrictions came into effect from March 27,2020.

What is essential travel?

A few days back the Canadian government has refined the meaning of essential travel to help officers assess whether the purpose of travel provided by the applicant is valid or not. The reasons include:

  • Travel for economic services and supply chains
  • Travel for providing service crucial for the health, well-being and safety of Canadians
  • Travel for providing immediate medical care, safety and security of Canadians
  • For supporting Indigenous communities
  • Traveling through Canada for essential purposes
  • The necessity to travel to Canada to attend sick family members or those who are staying alone in Canada
  • Any other activities that are viewed as “non-optional” or “non-discretionary” by the Canadian government 

What is non-essential travel?

The Canadian government defines the following as non-essential reasons to travel to Canada:

  • Visiting a family for a vacation
  • Coming to Canada for the birth of a new family member although they can make an exception for the child’s parent
  • Visiting your second home even it is only for maintenance purposes
  • Attending a family member’s funeral as quarantine measures in Canada already restrict the number of participants permitted for funerals.

Those who wish to come to Canada for family reunification can come to the country provided they are taking up full-time residence in Canada which includes prospective permanent residents and temporary residents who come to Canada to stay with immediate family members; taking care of sick family members or family members who are otherwise unable to take care of themselves.

Compulsory self-isolation

All persons entering Canada from abroad will have to undergo compulsory self-isolation for 14 days after entering Canada. These travelers must explain their quarantine plan to officials before entering the country.

They will have to give answers to questions such as where they will be staying and arrangements that they have made to procure essential goods etc. If officials are not satisfied with their answers they will have to stay in a hotel or quarantine facility designated by the government.

Travel restrictions are one of the steps the Canadian government has taken to avoid Coronavirus spreading and to protect its citizens. However, in keeping with the complex nature of the Coronavirus pandemic, these laws are subject to change. When making your travel arrangements, to come to Canada, you must be mindful of the new rules.

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