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The Government of Canada announced today, in addition to the travel restrictions already implemented since the beginning of the pandemic (COVID‑19), new border measures to support families that have been distanced while protecting the public health of the country.

In order to enhance quarantine monitoring, the government is increasing the use of digital forms and processes to allow critical information to be shared more quickly with provinces and territories. In addition, a process is being introduced to support enhanced family reunification, including those in long-term exclusive relationships, international students and entry for compassionate reasons. More specifically, these processes will provide for the entry of: 

  • certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, including those in an exclusive dating relationship of at least 1 year and their dependent children, as well as adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents;
  • foreign nationals for compassionate reasons in specific circumstances, such as life-threatening illness, critical injury or death, with potential limited release from quarantine;
  • international students, starting October 20, 2020, if they will be attending a designated learning institution that has been identified by their provincial or territorial government as having a COVID‑19 readiness plan in place. 

IMPORTANT DATE: 

Detailed information on who may qualify as an extended family member and the process and requirements to be eligible to travel to and enter Canada will be available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and on the Public Health Agency website on October 8, 2020. There will be a robust process in place for extended family members, and each traveller will need to apply for and be issued an authorization before they can travel to Canada.

Compliance and enforcement efforts (COVID-19):

The government continues to enforce and strengthen travel restrictions and border measures that have been in place since March 2020. The mandatory quarantine measures, which require travellers to quarantine or isolate for 14 days immediately upon entry to Canada (unless they are expressly exempt), have been effective.

Currently, 100 designated screening officers at a call centre make approximately 4,300 live calls, and 3,500 automated calls daily to travellers entering Canada, totalling nearly 1 million contacts since March 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with Service Canada to further increase these numbers.

These calls are followed up by law enforcement if any individual cannot be reached, or if a traveller is suspected of not complying with quarantine requirements. Law enforcement authorities, such as RCMP or provincial police officers, have full authority in jurisdictions that have signed on to the Contraventions Act ticketing regime to issue fines of up to $1,000, and may ticket an individual again in the presence of repeated instances of non-compliance, resulting in multiple fines. Where the non-compliance is not addressed through a contraventions ticket, an individual could face fines of up to $750,000 and up to 6 months in prison where charges are laid for an offence under the Quarantine Act. Willfully or recklessly contravening the Quarantine Act could also result in fines of up to $1 million and 3 years’ imprisonment.

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