Canada refines definition of “essential travel” during coronavirus

May 1, 2020

By CIC News |

With travel restrictions still in place, Canada has clarified what types of trips are considered “essential” in order to gauge which travellers should be let into the country.

Foreigners who are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions, such as temporary foreign workers, immediate family members of Canadians, and certain international students, must demonstrate the purpose of their trip is for an essential reason. In the government’s words, the reason must be “non-optional” or “non-discretionary.”

Meanwhile, the mandatory quarantine period for new arrivals and the restriction on travel for sick individuals are still at play. With few exceptions, everyone who enters Canada from abroad must undergo 14 days of self-isolation. Furthermore, they must demonstrate that they have an adequate quarantine plan.

At the end of the day, it is up to the officer to assess whether or not the reason for the trip is permissible for entry to Canada.

Some of the travel purposes that are considered essential may be:

  • economic services and supply chains;
  • providing service that is essential to the health, safety, security, or economic well-being of Canadians and the government, in other words, “critical infrastructure support;”
  • health (immediate medical care), safety and security;
  • supporting Indigenous communities;
  • transiting through Canada for essential purposes;
  • studying in Canada if approved before March 18, 2020, Canada is still accepting applications for international students and will advise them when travel opens to them;
  • tending to sick family members who have no one else to help them in Canada; or
  • any other activities that are deemed “non-optional” or “non-discretionary” by the Canadian government.

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