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Travellers to Canada now required to have self-isolation plan

Last Updated Apr 14, 2020 at 11:17 am PDT

FILE: Vancouver International Airport. (Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Travellers from abroad arriving in Canada will be required to prove they have an adequate self-isolation plan

The B.C. government announced a similar requirement for international arrivals to the province last week

Justin Trudeau says anyone who doesn't have a plan or has one that is deemed inadequate will self-isolate in a hotel

(NEWS 1130) – The isolation plan required for international travellers returning to B.C. will now be mandatory at all Canadian border crossings and airports.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday the new national requirement would take effect at midnight eastern time on Wednesday April 14.

“If you’ve come back to Canada from abroad, as of today, we are strengthening measures,” Trudeau said. “The order that goes in tonight is the strengthening of the Quarantine Act orders to give authorities the ability, upon evaluation of the person entering Canada’s plan to self-quarantine, if it is inadequate, they will be required to quarantine in a hotel.”

He explained officials will decide whether a person’s plan is adequate or not. “For example, if your plan is to go stay in a place where there are many elderly family members at risk of COVID-19, or whether they don’t have a set destination. If they’ve been outside of the country for many years, we now have the authority to require them to self-isolate for two weeks in a quarantine location, like a hotel.”

The B.C. government announced a similar requirement last week for international travellers arriving in the province.

Premier John Horgan said travellers are required to explain to officials, in detail, what their self-isolation plans are. If the person doesn’t have one, or if their plan isn’t deemed adequate by the province, a quarantine site will be provided to them for two weeks. Anyone showing symptoms, meanwhile, will not be allowed to leave the airport

Currently, only four airports across Canada are accepting international arrivals. Anyone showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus will not be able to return to Canada, Trudeau said last month.

On Tuesday, the prime minister said he understands Canadians are eager to know when COVID-19 mitigation measures would be lifted or loosened, but highlighted the importance of having them in place amid the pandemic.

“We recognize that people are eager to know when we’ll get into the next phase and be able to loosen some of the restrictions on work, on school,” Trudeau said. “We will be looking at that very carefully with the provinces in different ways across the country to make sure that where we start work up again in the weeks where we’re allowed to do that — because right now we’re still very much in this phase and will need to remain in this phase for a good while, still — but as we start to open up, we will be strategic in what we are able to do in a very gradual way.

“In regards to the American border, we recognize that travel restrictions are going to remain extremely important in terms of containing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and we’re going to continue to wrok with the Americans and people around the world to ensure that we continue with these restrictions,” he added.

The Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all non-essential traffic. Currently, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed entry into Canada.