Canada to discourage international travel: new restrictions

Shutterstock / Lester Balajadia

In an effort to further discourage international travel, Canada adopted stricter restrictions and banned flight to and from Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Flight restrictions

On January 31, 2021, Canada’s additional travel restrictions came into effect. Country’s airlines agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30, 2021. Starting February 3, 2021, all international flights, including business and charter flights, must arrive into Canada through one four airports – Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL), Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Calgary International Airport (YYC), or Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

At the request of the Canadian government, Air Canada (ADH2) has suspended flights to the Caribbean and Mexico. “Air Canada (ADH2) believes a collaborative approach with the Government of Canada involving all air carriers is the best means to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially given concerns around the variants of Covid-19 and travel during the Spring Break period,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer at the airline. 

Mexico’s Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco said there could be up to 791,000 fewer tourists due to the Canadian flight suspensions, which could result in around $782 million lost revenue. Meanwhile, Canada could lose up to 372,000 Mexican visitors and $368 million in lost revenues, announced the minister on January 31, 2021.

Further regulations

In addition, new quarantine regulations will be adopted. “As soon as possible in the coming weeks” all arriving passengers will have to quarantine for three days in a hotel approved by the Canadian government. The hotel costs, which include testing and surveillance, reportedly mount up to about $1,500 per traveler, according to the CNN News. 

On January 7, 2021, Canada imposed the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for all inbound passengers, in order to tackle a surge of new cases and the novel variant of the virus originating from the United Kingdom. 

In January 2021, after two Air Transat flights from Haiti landed in Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport with several COVID-19 cases, Health Canada informed that all passengers in all rows were potentially exposed to the virus. 

On January 15, 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was not excluding the idea of international flight ban. “We’re doing whatever it takes to protect Canadians, including looking at banning certain flights if necessary,” said Trudeau. “Decisions must be made based on public health guidance.”

Unifor trade union president Jerry Dias, representing 15,000 workers in the aviation sector, said the government needed to follow through with long-awaited support for air carriers to avoid the collapse of the country’s airlines. 

“You can’t have one without the other,” said Dias. “Further travel restrictions without providing financial support for airline workers is a risk to the very future of Canada’s airline industry.”


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