On Friday January 29th, the federal government announced increased restrictions on international travel in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Effective January 31, 2021, Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021. These and other airlines will still continue to operate flights from the United States allowing Canadian travellers to return home. The Government of Canada has not set a date by which Canadians currently abroad must return back to Canada.
As soon as February 4th, all air travellers arriving in Canada, including Canadian citizens, will be required to reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost (estimated at over $2,000 CAD), and take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival at their own cost. This test is in addition to the requirement for all travellers to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken 72 hours prior to their return flights to Canada.
For Canadian travellers returning home by vehicle, the federal government will introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers.
In addition, the Province of Ontario has announced that effective February 1, 2021, all international travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Those travellers who refuse to undergo testing could face a fine of $750. The Ontario Government is also looking into additional testing measures at Pearson International Airport and land border crossings in the coming weeks.
While the Canadian Snowbird Association is supportive of point of entry testing for COVID-19 at all Canadian airports and land crossings, we are firmly opposed to the imminent mandatory hotel quarantine measure to be imposed by the federal government. The CSA believes that the current quarantine protocols should remain in place and travellers should be permitted to quarantine in their own homes.
Many of the details related to these new measures remain unknown. The CSA is monitoring these restrictions closely and will be providing members with updates as soon as new information and effective dates for these protocols are made available.
The Canadian Snowbird Association