Loading articles...

Canada closing borders for non-residents, non-citizens in response to coronavirus pandemic

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 12:02 pm PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. Trudeau got thanks from Canada's premiers Friday for $11-billion in federal funding to confront the health and economic impact of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus — but heard that much more will be needed to weather the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Canada closes its borders for non-residents, non-citizens in response to the spread of coronavirus

New travel restrictions do not apply to trade or commerce

Canadians abroad are being told to come home

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed entry into the country as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government is taking “increasingly aggressive steps to keep Canadians safe” by denying entry to anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, with some exceptions, including diplomats, air crews, and immediate family of citizens, and U.S. citizens.

The prime minister cites the close relationship between Canada and the U.S. for the reason behind the exception for U.S. citizens.

There will also be new travel restrictions, with only four airports — Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver — accepting international flights. And anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus will not be able to return to Canada, added Trudeau. An assistance program is being developed for travellers needing to come home.

“Canadian travellers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home, or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada,” he said.

Trudeau reiterated the need for Canadians abroad to return home and self-isolate for 14 days.

“Let me be clear, if you are abroad at this time, you must come home,” he said.

The new travel restrictions will not apply to commerce or trade to ensure the supply of goods to Canada. Trudeau says G-7 partners have been informed of the new restrictions.

“I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures,” Trudeau explained.

He said new measures to help Canadians through the pandemic will be announced as early as tomorrow,

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said it is too early to tell if Canada is flattening the curve of the coronavirus spread.

She urged people to stay home as much as they can during this time while asking people not to buy more than they need for a two-week period.

“I know that many people are worried about running out of food and other essential supplies. Please know that we are not running out of any food or other supplies,” she said.

There have been at least 25,000 coronavirus tests in Canada with nearly 400 cases across the country. Three more deaths were recorded in B.C. along with 30 more cases of the virus.