Travel restrictions in Canada

Mandatory isolation or quarantine

COVID-19 testing required for people flying into Canada

Starting January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. See new requirements for air travellers.

When you enter Canada, you must:

  • isolate for 14 days if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you know you have COVID-19
  • quarantine for 14 days if you do not have symptoms
  • comply with mandatory isolation or quarantine requirements – failure to comply will result in fines, penalties or imprisonment

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Consequences of not following the requirements

Quarantine or isolation is mandatory for people coming to Canada.

Quarantine and isolation plans are evaluated by government representatives at the border to determine whether they’re suitable. This includes the risk to public health and the health and safety of those staying at the place of quarantine.

The Government of Canada has put in place an Emergency Order on Mandatory Isolation under the Quarantine Act. It applies to all travellers arriving in Canada. Its purpose is to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Consequences for failure to comply with the Emergency Order

Failure to comply with this order is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to imprisonment and/or fines.

Penalties, imprisonment and fines

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to:

  • 6 months in prison and/or
  • $750,000 in fines

If you break your mandatory quarantine or isolation requirements and you cause the death or serious bodily harm to another person, you could face:

  • a fine of up to $1,000,000 or
  • imprisonment of up to 3 years or
  • both

The Contraventions Act provides police (including RCMP, provincial and local police) more power to enforce the Contraventions Act. They can now issue tickets to people who do not comply with the Act. Fines range from $275 to $1000.

With symptoms: Mandatory isolation

Foreign nationals with symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act, and protected persons (refugee status) may enter Canada with symptoms. You will not be able to board a flight and enter Canada by air if you have symptoms.

You must go directly to the place you will isolate and stay there for 14 days. This is mandatory and starts from the date you arrive in Canada.

During the 14-day period from the time you enter Canada, you are required to answer any relevant questions asked by a Government of Canada employee.

Your isolation plan

You must demonstrate that you have an adequate plan for isolation to avoid infecting others. You are expected to make plans, within your own means, before travelling to Canada.

As of November 21, 2020, it is mandatory to electronically submit your isolation plan.

Where you can isolate with symptoms

You'll need to confirm you have a suitable place to isolate where you:

  • can stay for 14 days or possibly longer
  • have access to the necessities of life, including water, food, medication and heat without leaving isolation

You must isolate in a place where you won't have contact with people who:

  • are 65 years or older
  • have underlying medical conditions
  • have compromised immune systems

You may only isolate with people in these situations if:

  • they consent to the isolation or are the parent or minor in a parent-minor relationship
  • you complete a form provided by a government representative at the port of entry explaining the consent and receive authorization to proceed
  • to complete the assessment at the border, a government representative will call the person to obtain their consent; you will need their:
    • legal name
    • date of birth
    • full address
    • phone number

You cannot isolate in group living environments

Some examples include:

  • industrial camps
  • group residences or homes
  • hostels
  • construction trailers
  • student residences (unless you’ve received prior authorization)
  • residential care or long-term care facilities
  • sharing a small apartment
  • living in the same household with large families or many people
  • having housemates who haven’t travelled with you that you can’t avoid

For a full list of examples, visit the Congregate living settings section.

Isolation with others in the same household

Mandatory isolation only applies to travellers who have entered Canada.

Travellers who are under isolation should avoid contact with others and:

  • stay in separate rooms
  • use separate bathrooms
  • keep surfaces clean
  • avoid sharing personal items
  • limit interactions with others in the household

Co-habitants should also follow the guidance of their local public health authorities.

Getting to your place of isolation (final destination)
  • Go directly to your place of isolation without delay and stay there for 14 days from the date you arrived in Canada
  • You must use private transportation (such as your own vehicle or a private aircraft) to get to your place of isolation
  • You must wear a medical mask (where possible) or suitable non-medical mask or face covering while travelling to your place of isolation unless you are alone in a private vehicle
  • Practice physical distancing at all times and avoid contact with others
  • We encourage all travellers to check provincial and territorial restrictions
How to report after you've entered Canada

All travellers, whether you travel by air, land or sea, must report daily after your entry into Canada. If you’re exempt from having to quarantine, you don't have to report after you’ve entered.

If you don't complete your reports after you’ve entered Canada, you may receive phone calls or public health follow-ups.

Find out how to report via ArriveCAN or phone

If you do not have a suitable place to isolate or do not have private transportation

Make your isolation plans in advance of your arrival at the port of entry. If you do not have an adequate place to isolate, or do not have private transportation to your place of isolation, you may be transferred to a federal isolation site where you must remain for 14 days. Before travellers are transferred to a federal isolation site government representatives will work with them to confirm that all other options for isolation accommodations within their own means have been exhausted.

These sites are a last resort for travellers who have no options of meeting isolation requirements by other means.

Where required, transportation from the port of entry to a federal isolation site will be provided by the Government of Canada.

COVID-19 testing or medical emergencies while in isolation

You may seek testing or time-sensitive medical treatment, provided that you resume your isolation immediately afterwards. During your isolation, you must undergo any health assessments that a quarantine officer requires.

You must:

  • wear a medical mask (if possible) or suitable non-medical mask or face covering if a distance of 2 metres from others cannot be maintained
  • practice physical distancing at all times, where possible
  • use private transportation only, such as your private vehicle
  • follow any additional instructions from your local public health authorities
If you leave Canada while showing symptoms

You will not be able to take public transportation. You must depart using private transportation only, such as your private vehicle. You will not be able to board a flight to depart Canada. You must also comply with all regulations for the country of destination.

You must:

  • wear a medical mask (where possible) or non-medical mask or face covering while in transit
  • practice physical distancing at all times, where possible
  • avoid contact with others while in transit
    • remain in the vehicle
    • do not stay at a hotel on the way to your new destination
    • if you need gas, pay at the pump
    • if you need food, use a drive through
    • if you need to use a rest area, put on your mask and be mindful of physical distancing and good hygiene practices

If you are in a federal isolation site, you must get authorization from a quarantine officer to leave.

Give notice that you have left Canada

Travellers will need to update their isolation information, or else you will continue to receive compliance calls and check-ins.

You can do so by sending an email to: phac.quarantine.covid19.quarantaine.aspc@canada.ca. You must provide your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • date of entry

How to isolate with symptoms

Travellers with COVID-19 symptoms returning to Canada

Without symptoms: Mandatory quarantine

First, you should determine whether or not you can enter Canada.

Find out if you can travel to Canada

If you can enter Canada and you have no symptoms, you must quarantine for 14 days. This is mandatory and starts from the date you arrive in Canada. A negative COVID-19 test result at any point during your quarantine does not exclude you from the requirement to quarantine, unless you are part of an approved federal and provincial COVID-19 project.

If you begin to show symptoms during your quarantine, are exposed to another traveller with symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19, you must begin an additional 14 days of isolation.

Your quarantine plan

As a traveller, you must demonstrate that you have an adequate plan for quarantine. You’re expected to make plans, within your own means, before travelling to Canada. Foreign nationals who do not have an adequate plan may be denied entry into Canada.

As of November 21, 2020, it is mandatory to electronically submit your quarantine plan.

You will be asked questions about your plans for quarantine upon arrival.

Where can you quarantine

You'll need to confirm you have a suitable place to quarantine where you:

  • stay for 14 days or possibly longer
  • have access to the necessities of life, including water, food, medication and heat without leaving quarantine

You must quarantine in a place where you won't have contact with people who:

  • are 65 years or older
  • have underlying medical conditions
  • have compromised immune systems

You may only quarantine with people in these situations if:

  • they consent to the quarantine or are the parent or minor in a parent-minor relationship
  • you complete a form provided by a government representative at the port of entry explaining the consent and receive authorization to proceed
  • to complete the assessment at the border, a government representative will call the person to obtain their consent; you will need their:
    • legal name
    • date of birth
    • full address
    • phone number

Many travellers will be able to quarantine at home or at their Canadian destination.

Some travellers may be unable to quarantine at home or their final destination. In these cases, travellers are expected to make alternative arrangements for their return to Canada. Although alternative accommodations (e.g. with family or friends, or paid accommodation) may be suitable, the Government of Canada does not reimburse for expenses incurred for accommodations, including hotels, RV rentals and trailer park or campground fees.

You cannot quarantine in group living environments

Some examples include:

  • industrial camps
  • group residences or homes
  • hostels
  • construction trailers
  • student residences (unless you’ve received prior authorization)
  • residential care or long-term care facilities
  • sharing a small apartment
  • living in the same household with large families or many people
  • having housemates who haven’t travelled with you that you can’t avoid

For a full list of examples, visit the Congregate living settings section.

Using hotels

If you are not displaying symptoms, you may be allowed to quarantine at a hotel. A government of Canada representative can give you instructions. While staying at a hotel, you must:

  • stay in your room to avoid contact with others
  • practise physical distancing (maintain a 2-metre distance)
  • practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette at all times
  • use a delivery service and ask that the meal be left outside the door of your hotel room
Quarantine with others in the same household

Mandatory quarantine only applies to travellers who have entered Canada.

Travellers who are under quarantine should avoid contact with others and:

  • stay in separate rooms
  • use separate bathrooms
  • keep surfaces clean
  • avoid sharing personal items
  • limit interactions with others in the household

Co-habitants should also follow the guidance of their local public health authorities.

If you do not have a suitable place to quarantine

Make your quarantine plans in advance of your arrival to Canada. If you do not have an adequate place to quarantine, you may be transferred to a federal quarantine site where you must remain for 14 days. Before travellers are transferred to a federal quarantine site, government representatives may work with them to confirm that all other options for quarantine accommodations within their own means have been exhausted.

These sites are a last resort for travellers who have no options of meeting quarantine requirements by other means.

Where required, transportation from the port of entry to a federal quarantine site is provided by the Government of Canada.

Getting to your place of quarantine (final destination)
  • Go directly to your place of quarantine without delay and stay there for 14 days from the date you arrived in Canada
  • You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while in transit
  • Practice physical distancing at all times and avoid contact with others
  • Some provinces and territories have additional COVID-19 measures in place. We encourage all travellers to check provincial and territorial restrictions
How to report after you've entered Canada

All travellers, whether you travel by air, land or sea, must report daily after your entry into Canada. If you’re exempt from having to quarantine, you don't have to report after you’ve entered.

If you don't complete your reports after you’ve entered Canada, you may receive phone calls or public health follow-ups.

Find out how to report via ArriveCAN or phone

COVID-19 testing or medical emergencies while in quarantine

You may seek testing or medical treatment, provided that you resume your quarantine immediately afterwards.

If you need assistance to access medical treatment, an exception may be made to allow one other person to accompany you, which can include a person who is also under mandatory quarantine.

If the person who needs to visit a health care facility is a minor, the exception extends to one other person who accompanies the minor.

Should you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 during quarantine, you must begin isolation for an additional 14 days from the date of your positive COVID-19 test or the date your symptoms started.

You must:

  • wear a non-medical mask or face covering if a distance of 2 metres from others cannot be maintained unless you are alone in a private vehicle
  • practice physical distancing at all times, where possible
  • if possible, use private transportation such as a private vehicle to reach your place of quarantine and follow any additional instructions from local public health authorities

If you leave Canada during the 14-day period

You may choose to leave Canada before the end of the 14-day quarantine period. However, you must:

  • continue to quarantine yourself until your departure date
  • wear a non-medical mask or face covering when you depart Canada
  • comply with all regulations for the country of destination

If you are in a federal quarantine site, you must get authorization from a quarantine officer to leave.

Give notice that you have left Canada

Travellers will need to update their quarantine information, or else you will continue to receive compliance calls and check-ins.

You can do so by sending an email to: phac.quarantine.covid19.quarantaine.aspc@canada.ca. You must provide your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • date of entry

How to quarantine

Travellers without symptoms entering Canada

Who is exempt from quarantine

You may be exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirements under certain conditions, including if you:

  • provide essential services
  • maintain the flow of essential goods or people
  • are receiving medical care within 36 hours of entering Canada (non-related to COVID-19)
  • regularly cross the border to work
  • live in an integrated trans-border community

Although your reason for entering Canada may fall under an exemption, you may still have to follow certain provincial and territorial restrictions (which may include quarantine), depending on your destination.

You are not exempt from the 14 day quarantine:

  • if you have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19
  • for non-essential reasons

Essential reasons: quarantine exemption list

If you are in one of these situations, you may be exempt from mandatory quarantine.

Medical and health care

  • A person who enters Canada for the purpose of receiving essential medical services or treatments within 36 hours of entering Canada, other than services or treatments related to COVID-19
  • A person permitted to work in Canada as a student in a health field under paragraph 186(p) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations who enters Canada for the purpose of performing their duties as a student in the health field, as long as they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which the person enters Canada
  • A person who enters Canada for the purpose of providing medical care, transporting essential medical equipment, supplies or means of treatment, or delivering, maintaining or repairing medically-necessary equipment or devices, as long as they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which the person enters Canada
  • A person who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of making medical deliveries of stem cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs or other body parts that are required for patient care in Canada during the validity of the Order or within a reasonable period of time after the expiry of the Order
  • A licensed health care practitioner with proof of employment in Canada who enters for the purpose of performing their duties as a licensed health practitioner, as long as they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which the licensed practitioner enters Canada

Essential work considered exempt under the Emergency Orders

  • A person or any person in a class of persons whom the Chief Public Health Officer determines will provide an essential service:
    • Persons in the trade or transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods or people, including truck drivers and crew members on any aircraft, shipping vessel or train, and that cross the border while performing their duties or for the purpose of performing their duties;
    • Persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment, including critical infrastructure workers (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing), provided they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the first 14 days after their entry to Canada;
    • Technicians or specialists specified by a government, manufacturer, or company, who enter Canada as required for the purpose of maintaining, repairing, installing or inspecting equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing) and are required to provide their services within 14 days of their entry to Canada and have reasonable rationales for the immediacy of the work and the inability to plan for a 14 day quarantine;
    • Emergency service providers, including firefighters, peace officers, and paramedics, who return from providing such services in another country and are required to provide their services within 14 days of their return to Canada;
    • Commercial conveyance operators repatriating human remains into Canada;
    • Persons, including a captain, deckhand, observer, inspector, scientist, veterinarian and any other person supporting commercial or research open water aquaculture-related activities, who enter Canada for the purpose of carrying out aquaculture-related activities, including fishing, transporting fish to and from the aquaculture facility, treating fish for pests or pathogens, repairs, provisioning of aquaculture-related vessels or aquaculture facilities or exchange of crew and who proceed directly to an open water facility or vessel upon entry to Canada.
    • Officials of the Government of Canada or a foreign government, including border services officers, immigration enforcement officers, law enforcement and correctional officers, who are escorting individuals travelling to Canada or from Canada pursuant to a legal process such as deportation, extradition or international transfer of offenders; and
    • Officials of the Government of Canada, a provincial or a foreign government, including law enforcement, border enforcement, and immigration enforcement officers, who enter Canada for the purposes of law, border or immigration enforcement, or national security activities that support active investigations, ensure continuity of enforcement operations or activities, or transfer information or evidence pursuant to, or in support, of a legal process, and who are required to provide their services within 14 days of entry and have reasonable rationales for the immediacy of the work and the inability to plan for a 14 day quarantine.
    • Members of a crew for any conveyance who are re-entering Canada after having left to undertake mandatory training relating to the operation of a conveyance, and who are required by their employer to return to work as members of a crew on a conveyance within 14 days of their return to Canada.
  • A crew member as defined in subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations or a person who enters Canada only to become such a crew member
  • A member of a crew as defined in subsection 3(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations or a person who enters Canada only to become such a crew member
  • A member of the Canadian Forces or a visiting force as defined in section 2 of the Visiting Forces Act, who enters Canada for the purpose of performing their duties as a member of either of those forces
  • A person, including a captain, deckhand, observer, inspector, scientist and any other person supporting commercial or research fishing-related activities, who enters Canada aboard a Canadian fishing vessel or a foreign fishing vessel as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, for the purpose of carrying out fishing or fishing-related activities, including offloading of fish, repairs, provisioning the vessel and exchange of crew
  • A person who seeks to enter Canada on board a vessel, as defined in section 2 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, that is engaged in research and that is operated by or under the authority of the Government of Canada or at its request or operated by a provincial government, a local authority or a government, council or other entity authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, as long as the person remains onboard the vessel.

Trans-border, remote cross-border or geographically constrained communities

  • A person who enters Canada within the boundaries of an integrated trans-border community that exists on both sides of the Canada-United States border and who is a habitual resident of that community, if entering Canada is necessary for carrying out an everyday function within that community; such as buying groceries or gas when the community access is in Canada, such as the Akwesasne community
  • A person who enters Canada if the entry is necessary to return to their habitual place of residence in Canada after carrying out an everyday function (such as getting groceries, going to work, or seeing a doctor) that, due to geographical constraints, must involve entering the United States.
  • A habitual resident of the remote communities of Northwest Angle, Minnesota or Hyder, Alaska who enters Canada only to access necessities of life from the closest Canadian community where such necessities of life are available and
  • A habitual resident of the remote communities of Campobello Island, New Brunswick or Stewart, British Columbia who enters Canada after having entered the United States only to access necessities of life from the closest American community where such necessities of life are available.

Cross-border students and people driving them

  • A student who is enrolled at a listed institution within the meaning of any order made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act, who attends that institution regularly and who enters Canada to go to that institution, as long as the government of the province and the local health authority of the place where that listed institution is located have indicated to the Public Health Agency of Canada that the listed institution is approved to accommodate students who are excepted from paragraph 3(1)(a) and section 4
  • A driver of a conveyance who enters Canada to drop off a student referred to in paragraph at the listed institution referred to in that paragraph or to pick the student up from that institution, as long as the driver leaves the conveyance while in Canada, if at all, only to escort the student to or from the listed institution and they wear a non-medical mask or face covering while outside the conveyance
  • A student who is enrolled at an educational institution in the United States, who attends that educational institution regularly and who enters Canada to return to their habitual place of residence after attending that educational institution and
  • A driver of a conveyance who enters Canada after dropping off a student who is enrolled at an educational institution in the United States at that institution or after picking up the student from that institution, as long as the driver left the conveyance while outside Canada, if at all, only to escort the student to or from the institution and they wore a non-medical mask or face covering while outside the conveyance.

Cross-border custody arrangements

  • A dependent child who enters Canada under the terms of a written agreement or court order regarding custody, access or parenting
  • A driver of a conveyance who enters Canada to drop off or pick up a dependent child under the terms of a written agreement or court order regarding custody, access or parenting, as long as the driver leaves the conveyance while in Canada, if at all, only to escort the dependent child to or from the conveyance and they wear a non-medical mask or face covering while outside the conveyance and
  • A driver of a conveyance who enters Canada after dropping off or picking up a dependent child under the terms of a written agreement or court order regarding custody, access or parenting, as long as the driver left the conveyance while outside Canada, if at all, only to escort the dependent child to or from the conveyance and they wore a non-medical mask or face covering while outside the conveyance.

Other special circumstances

  • By invitation - A person who enters Canada at the invitation of the Minister of Health for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • National interest - A person or any person in a class of persons whose presence in Canada is determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to be in the national interest, as long as the person complies with any conditions imposed on them by the relevant Minister to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19
  • Land border crossing - A person who enters Canada in a conveyance at a land border crossing in the following circumstances, as long as the person remained in the conveyance while outside Canada:
    • the person was denied entry to the United States at the land border crossing, or
    • the person entered the territory of the United States but did not seek legal entry to the United States at the land border crossing.
  • Provincial and territorial projects - A person who, under an arrangement entered into between the Minister of Health and the minister responsible for health care in the province where the person enters Canada, is participating in a project to gather information to inform the development of quarantine requirements other than those set out in this Order, as long as the person complies with any conditions imposed on them by the Minister of Health to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19
  • Amateur sports - A person who enters Canada to take part in an international single sport event that has been authorized by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage (a high-performance athlete or someone engaged in an essential role in relation to that event, affiliated with a national organization responsible for that sport), as long as the person complies with any conditions imposed on them to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19.

For more information, go to the List of Acts and Regulations and look for information on the Quarantine Act, the Emergency Orders, and the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Group Exemptions that may apply.

Limited (temporary) release from quarantine for compassionate reasons (for funerals, to care for someone, or for an end of life visitation)

Based on your reason for travel, you may apply for a limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons. If you’re approved, your limited release from quarantine is valid only for the location(s) and purpose specified in your application.

Some provinces and territories may not allow for limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons. This means that even if you receive approval from the Public Health Agency of Canada a province or territory may have additional restrictions. In the event of conflicting requirements between federal restrictions and provincial or territorial travel restrictions, you must comply with those that are the most stringent.

To apply for compassionate entry and limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons, see Caring for others, funerals and support.

Interpreting the exemptions or additional questions about the Emergency Order

For help interpreting the exemptions or if you have additional questions about the Emergency Order.

Call us at: 1-833-784-4397

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