international travel canada

This is what you need to know about international travel from Canada right now

International travel from Canada came to a halt when the government issued an advisory against all non-essential travel at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to help stop the spread of the virus. 

Airlines have also suspended flights, airports have closed and movement restrictions are being imposed more frequently with little warning, which means travel plans may be severely disrupted for those who choose to travel despite these advisories. 

Though travelling in the age of the novel coronavirus is not without its risk, some Canadians may still find themselves having to travel abroad over the next coming months. And as the list of countries reopening their borders grows, globetrotters may be willing to take their chances. 

Here are the things to keep in mind if you are planning international travel from Canada right now.

Don’t travel if you have symptoms 

If you're showing any symptoms of the virus, get tested and avoid travel until it has been confirmed whether you are safe to travel or not. To err on the side of caution, even if you aren’t showing signs, it might be a good idea to get tested before doing any international travel. 

Travel insurance won’t cover COVID-19 

Travel insurance providers have not been covering travel booked during the travel advisory in Canada. And industry experts believe that they may continue to exclude coverage for COVID-19-related illnesses even once Canada lifts the advisory until there’s a vaccine. 

Understanding the terms of your insurance policy is more important than ever. Talk to your provider about extending your insurance policy so that you’re covered for medical treatment and extended stays outside Canada if you were to become infected with coronavirus abroad. 

Expect increased screening at airports

There will be increased health screening measures, as well as mandatory temperature checks for anyone travelling from Canada. Air Canada and Westjet were already doing this. And those returning to Canada will have to undergo a screening by a border services officer.

Most local authorities around the world have implemented unique entry and exit restrictions for their territory to limit the spread of the virus. St. Lucia is requiring proof from visitors upon arrival that they're virus-free. Travellers to Iceland can get tested when they arrive. 

Face masks are required for travel 

The federal government has mandated that all air passengers wear masks or face coverings on planes, as well as in airports when social distancing isn’t possible and when directed to do so by a public health order or public health official. 

If travellers are unable to demonstrate they have a mask during the boarding process when departing or arriving in Canada, they won’t be allowed to continue on their journey.

There's a mandatory quarantine 

Virus-free or not, anyone arriving in Canada has to self-isolate for 14 days. This may also be the case at your international destination. Canadians returning from abroad must have credible quarantine plans or they’ll have to stay at a quarantine facility, such as a hotel. 

Those who fail to self-isolate will be fined up to $750,000 and/or face six-month imprisonment. Those penalties jump to $1 million and three years in prison should someone jeopardize another’s life while contravening the act.

If you return with symptoms 

Canadians suffering from COVID-19 may still return home by land, rail or sea, but won’t be able to fly back to Canada until they recover. Travellers should bring sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case of an extended stay abroad. 

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