July Update: Canada and COVID-19
anadian borders may soon open to some travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Since March 16, Canada’s borders have been closed to all but deemed-essential travelers in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Such “essential services”, are individuals who, by definition of their occupation, provide services that both countries have come to rely on, are exempted from the ban. These include diplomats and airline crew members.
- Since April 18, 2020, the U.S. – Canada border has been, and remains, closed;
- The U.S. has suspended all immigration to the United States, with many essential details missing or vague.
Encouraging progress in Canada
Canada’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus have been encouraging. After containing the rapid spread of the virus in seniors residences and long-term care facilities, Canadian provinces have seen their cases – and deaths – fall rapidly. The Canada-wide effort to shut the country down and ask Canadians to stay at home to contain the spread of the virus worked.
- Canada’s three northern territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) have not recorded a case of COVID-19 in more than a month. None of the three have had an active case of COVID-19 for weeks. Nunavut territory has never had a case of COVID-19, and remains one of the few places in the world virus-free;
- Atlantic Canada will open as a ‘regional bubble’ in July. As of the end of June, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador had all achieved and sustained zero active cases for more than two weeks. As the four Atlantic provinces re-open for travel among themselves without a two-week quarantine in July, and as whatever remains of the tourist season progresses, isolated cases remain possible;
- The rate of new cases and deaths in Ontario and Quebec has fallen sharply since May. Neither province is yet close to zero active cases, though the daily count of new cases continues to fall. In Ontario, the majority of cases remain in the Toronto area, Peel Region west of Toronto, and Windsor-Essex, near the U.S. border;
- Manitoba is close to zero in its active cases. Saskatchewan and Alberta are slowly reducing their active cases. British Columbia has been very successful in bringing the infection rate, and the number of active cases, down steadily. B.C. and Yukon will open up a regional ‘bubble’ in the coming weeks.
Check the Globe and Mail web site for up-to-date graphs and case numbers in Canada and the provinces and territories.
Public, sporting, business, conference and entertainment events all remain cancelled. Canadians can start to attend gatherings of many type, including church services, at reduced capacity with a strong recommendation to wear masks. Many retail establishments require shoppers, clients and patrons to use hand sanitizers and wear masks as they re-open, or remain open.
What does this mean to me?
All travelers, including Canadians returning from abroad, must self-isolate for at least 14 days once back in Canada. As the European Union re-opens, its own safe ‘bubble’ may include such countries as Canada and others which have shown discipline and success in containing and reducing the virus.
If you are working with us on applying for any type of visa or sponsorship, we will continue to work on your case without interruption. If you have been granted a TRV (visitor visa) you will not be able to come to Canada as a visitor until the ban has been lifted.
If you have been granted a permanent residence visa and have not booked your ticket to “land” in Canada, please delay your arrival in Canada to a time when you know things are back to normal. There are only four international airports open for international flights: Pearson International in Toronto; Pierre Elliot Trudeau International in Montreal; Vancouver International and Calgary International. The line-ups and testing upon arrival will be long and rigorous. As noted above, every international traveler, Canadian or not, must self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
Who cannot board Canada-bound flights
Canada’s Ministry of Transportation issued an Interim Order on who can and cannot board flights bound for Canada. The rules clarify how to deal with significant risk, direct or indirect to aviation safety or to the safety of the public:
- Persons who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents may not board an airline flight to come to Canada. This includes stateless persons;
- Every air carrier must conduct, at the boarding gate, a health check of every person prior to their boarding an aircraft for a flight to Canada;
- Air carriers may not allow persons to board if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 in their answers to questions, or in the air carrier’s observation. Passengers will be refused permission to board Canada-bound aircraft if they say they have COVID-19, or if they refuse to answer questions.
When COVID-19 ends
The difficult COVID-19 pandemic will end, and in Canada there is caused for hope. Canada is on track to look for as many as one million new immigrants to the country in the next three years. We continue to work from home, and use WhatsApp and other technology to meet virtually with clients. If you’re thinking about Canada, get the process started early. Some of our clients have already got their coveted Invitation to Apply during the COVID-19 period.
If you’re serious about coming to Canada, tell us about yourself by filling out this secure form. Let’s see if there is a viable pathway for you to continue life in Canada.