In the News

Apr 22, 2021

With a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for travellers, Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world, yet the nation is now experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 cases accelerated by many factors, including variants of concern, as well as emerging variants of interest.

Many provinces are experiencing an increasing number of cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions surpassing previous records. These trends emphasize the importance of maintaining strong public health and border measures that reduce the risk of importation of cases.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, and the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, announced new rules for some international travel.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has been monitoring case data, and through mandatory testing upon entry into Canada, has detected a disproportionally higher number of cases among individuals travelling on flights originating from India and Pakistan. Given the high number of cases, the Government of Canada has taken additional measures:

  • Transport Canada has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to suspend all commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days, effective 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021. 
  • The Minister of Transport will amend the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19, which means for passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada after 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021, via an indirect route, they will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

  • These measures will help manage the elevated risk of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada during a time of increasing pressure on our health care system.

Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by the latest science. Over the past few months, the Government of Canada introduced enhanced testing requirements for travellers arriving in Canada. These requirements include mandatory submission of contact, travel and quarantine information via ArriveCAN, pre-departure (air) or pre-arrival (land) testing, on-arrival testing and again later during 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

The Government of Canada also put in place more stringent criteria for suitable quarantine plans and a mandatory hotel stopover for travellers arriving by air while they await the results of their on-arrival test before completing the rest of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The NOTAM, which advises air operators of the suspension of passenger flights arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan, is a temporary measure for 30 days while the government assesses the evolving situation and determines appropriate measures going forward.

To ensure aviation safety and reduce operational interruptions, flights from India or Pakistan that are already in transit (in the air) at the time of the publication of the NOTAM will be allowed to proceed to Canada.

All passenger flights and business aviation flights will be captured by the NOTAM. Cargo-only operations, medical transfers or military flights will not be included.

From 22 February to 19 April 2021, the Public Health Agency of Canada received Day 1 test results for 274,822 travellers (air and land travel). Of these, 1.4% or 3,732 tested positive for COVID-19.

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