Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 154, Number 43: ORDERS IN COUNCIL

October 24, 2020

PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA

QUARANTINE ACT

Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States)

P.C. 2020-810 October 20, 2020

Whereas the Governor in Council is of the opinion that

  • (a) based on the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization, there is an outbreak of a communicable disease, namely coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in the majority of foreign countries;
  • (b) the introduction or spread of the disease would pose an imminent and severe risk to public health in Canada;
  • (c) the entry of persons into Canada who have recently been in a foreign country may introduce or contribute to the spread of the disease in Canada; and
  • (d) no reasonable alternatives to prevent the introduction or spread of the disease are available;

Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, pursuant to section 58 of the Quarantine Act footnote a makes the annexed Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States).

Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States)

Definitions

1 The following definitions apply in this Order.

  • Chief Public Health Officer means the Chief Public Health Officer appointed under subsection 6(1) of the Public Health Agency of Canada Act. (administrateur en chef)
  • common-law partner has the same meaning as in subsection 1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. (conjoint de fait)
  • dependent child has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. (enfant à charge)
  • extended family member, in respect of a person, means
    • (a) an individual who is in an exclusive dating relationship with the person, has been in such a relationship for at least one year, and has spent time in the physical presence of the person during the course of the relationship;
    • (b) a dependent child of the person referred to in paragraph (a);
    • (c) a child of the person or of the person’s spouse, common-law partner or the person referred to in paragraph (a) other than a dependent child;
    • (d) a dependent child of a child referred to in paragraph (c);
    • (e) a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
    • (f) a grandparent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner. (membre de la famille élargie)
  • foreign national has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (étranger)
  • immediate family member, in respect of a person, means
    • (a) the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
    • (b) a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
    • (c) a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b);
    • (d) the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
    • (e) the guardian or tutor of the person. (membre de la famille immédiate)
  • permanent resident has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (résident permanent)
  • protected person has the meaning assigned by subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (personne protégée)
  • temporary resident has the meaning assigned by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (résident temporaire)

Prohibition — signs and symptoms

2 (1) A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19, if they have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever and cough or a fever and breathing difficulties, or if they know they have COVID-19.

Non-application — certain persons

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to persons referred to in subsection 5(1) or (2) who seek to enter Canada from the United States for the purpose of making a claim for refugee protection.

Prohibition — optional or discretionary purpose

3 (1) A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States if they seek to enter for an optional or discretionary purpose, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment.

Non-application — immediate family member

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a foreign national who is an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident if the foreign national intends to enter Canada to be with their immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and can demonstrate their intent to stay in Canada for a period of at least 15 days.

Non-application — extended family member

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a foreign national who is an extended family member of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident if the foreign national

  • (a) intends to enter Canada to be with their extended family member who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and can demonstrate their intent to stay in Canada for a period of at least 15 days;
  • (b) has a statutory declaration attesting to their relationship with the Canadian citizen or permanent resident that is signed by the Canadian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • (c) is authorized, in writing, by an officer designated under subsection 6(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to enter Canada for the purpose referred to in paragraph (a).

Prohibition — extended family member

3.1 A foreign national who is an extended family member of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident and who seeks to enter Canada for a purpose related to their extended family is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States unless the foreign national

  • (a) has a statutory declaration attesting to their relationship with the Canadian citizen or permanent resident that is signed by the Canadian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • (b) is authorized, in writing, by an officer designated under subsection 6(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to enter Canada for that purpose.

Prohibition — unable to meet quarantine requirement

4 (1) A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States if, based on the purpose of entry and the length of their stay, the applicable requirement to quarantine under any order made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act with respect to mandatory isolation or quarantine cannot be complied with.

Non-application — certain persons

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to persons referred to in subsections 5(1) or (2) who seek to enter Canada from the United States for the purpose of making a claim for refugee protection.

Prohibition — claim for refugee protection

5 (1) A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States for the purpose of making a claim for refugee protection unless the person

  • (a) seeks to enter Canada at a land port of entry designated by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness under section 26 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and
    • (i) is a claimant referred to in section 159.2, 159.5 or 159.6 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or
    • (ii) is a citizen of the United States; or
  • (b) is a person or any person in a class of persons whose presence in Canada is determined by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to be in the national or public interest, while recognizing the paramount public health interests of Canada and Canadians.

Non-application — certain persons

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the following persons who seek to enter Canada at any place referred to in paragraph 159.4(1)(a), (b) or (c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations:

  • (a) a citizen of the United States;
  • (b) a stateless habitual resident of the United States; or
  • (c) a person who
    • (i) has not attained the age of 18 years and is not accompanied by their mother, father or legal guardian within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations,
    • (ii) has neither a spouse nor a common-law partner within the meaning of those Regulations, and
    • (iii) has neither a mother or father nor a legal guardian within the meaning of those Regulations in the United States.

Prohibition — international students

5.1 (1) A person who holds a valid study permit as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, who may apply for a study permit when entering Canada under section 214 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations or whose application for a study permit was approved under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and who received written notice of the approval but who has not yet been issued the permit, is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States for the purpose of attending an institution other than a listed institution.

Listed institution

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a listed institution is an institution that is

  • (a) determined, by a government of a province in which the institution is located, to have appropriate measures in place to ensure that the students who attend the institution can meet applicable obligations under any order made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act with respect to mandatory isolation or quarantine; and
  • (b) included in a list that is published by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration on its website, as amended from time to time, for the purposes of this Order.

Non-application — compassionate grounds

5.2 Subsection 3(1), section 3.1. and subsection 4(1) do not apply to a foreign national who, as determined by the Minister of Health, intends to enter Canada to

  • (a) attend to the death of or provide support to a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, temporary resident, protected person, or a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act who is residing in Canada and who is deemed by a licensed health care professional to be critically ill;
  • (b) provide care for a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, temporary resident, protected person, or a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act who is residing in Canada and who is deemed by a licensed health care professional to have a medical reason as to why they require support; or
  • (c) attend a funeral or end of life ceremony.

Non-application — Order

6 This Order does not apply to

  • (a) a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act;
  • (b) a person who, as determined by the Chief Public Health Officer, does not pose a risk of significant harm to public health;
  • (c) a protected person; or
  • (d) a person who enters Canadian waters, including the inland waters, or the airspace over Canada on board a conveyance while proceeding directly from one place outside Canada and leaves Canada to another place outside Canada on board the conveyance, as long as the person was continuously on board that conveyance while in Canada and, in the case of a conveyance other than an aircraft, the person did not land in Canada and the conveyance did not make contact with another conveyance, moor or anchor while in Canadian waters, including the inland waters, other than anchoring carried out in accordance with the right of innocent passage under international law and, in the case of an aircraft, the conveyance did not land while in Canada.

Powers and obligations

7 For greater certainty, this Order does not affect any of the powers and obligations set out in the Quarantine Act.

Repeal

8 The Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) footnote 1 is repealed.

Effective period

9 This Order has effect for the period beginning at 23:59:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on the day on which it is made and ending at 23:59:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 21, 2020.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

This Order in Council, entitled Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States), is made pursuant to section 58 of the Quarantine Act.

The Order repeals and replaces Order in Council P.C. 2020-795 of the same name, which came into force on October 7, 2020.

The new Order complements any Order made under the Quarantine Act imposing isolation or quarantine requirements upon entry into the country.

This Order will be in effect from 23:59:59 p.m., Eastern daylight time, on the date it is made until 23:59:59 p.m., Eastern standard time, November 21, 2020.

Objective

This Order extends the effective date of the previous Order restricting entry into Canada from the United States.

It furthers Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and spread of COVID-19 by decreasing the risk of importing cases from outside the country. The Order continues to prohibit entry into Canada of foreign nationals arriving from the United States for an optional or discretionary purpose, with some limited exceptions. Even those who are exempted from the prohibition may not enter if they have COVID-19 or they exhibit signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Background

COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus capable of causing severe illness, named the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is part of a family of viruses that includes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease is caused by a new strain of coronavirus never before seen in humans. Therefore, information about the virus, how it causes disease, whom it affects, and how to appropriately treat or prevent illness has been limited and based on best practices approaches to coronaviruses at large. Originally seen to be a local outbreak, COVID-19 has now affected the majority of countries around the globe. The science surrounding the virus is still evolving.

Coronaviruses are spread among humans primarily through the inhalation of infectious respiratory droplets (e.g. when an infected individual coughs or sneezes) or through contact with objects or surfaces contaminated by infectious droplets. Human-to-human transmission is the main driving force of the current COVID-19 outbreak and is exacerbated by a lack of immunity in the general population.

COVID-19 has been clearly demonstrated to be a severe, life-threatening respiratory disease. Patients with COVID-19 present with symptoms that may include fever, malaise, dry cough, shortness of breath, and damage to the lungs. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. Older individuals and those with a weakened immune system or an underlying medical condition have been seen to be at a higher risk of severe disease. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is currently estimated to be up to 14 days, with an average of 5 days. No vaccine is available to protect Canadians from COVID-19. Current treatment is supportive, aimed at relief of symptoms and treatment of associated medical complications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an outbreak of what is now known as COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11, 2020. COVID-19 has demonstrated that it can cause widespread illness if not properly contained. Global efforts are focused on identification of cases and the prevention of further spread. If widespread disease occurs in Canada, the health system could be overwhelmed, further increasing negative health impacts.

Government of Canada response to COVID-19 pandemic

The Government of Canada’s top priority is the health and safety of Canadians. To limit the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada, the Government of Canada has taken unprecedented action to implement a comprehensive strategy with layers of precautionary measures. Measures include, for example, the establishment of a more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund, restrictions on entry into Canada for optional or discretionary travel, restrictions on cruise ship travel in Canada, and mandatory quarantine and isolation measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

Together, these measures have been effective. For instance, by limiting incoming travel to Canada and requiring mandatory isolation and quarantine, the Government of Canada has reduced travel-related infections to low numbers. While these measures cannot prevent COVID-19 from crossing the borders, they are effective at reducing the risk that community transmission will occur due to international travel.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Government of Canada is continuing to evaluate the latest science and situational assessments of what is occurring in various jurisdictions across Canada and internationally when considering any changes to border restrictions or border measures. All changes to international travel restrictions and advice are based on national and international evidence-based risk assessments. At this time, travel continues to present a risk of imported cases and increases the potential for onward community transmission of COVID-19. This is because, while some countries are starting to see confirmed cases and deaths fall following strict lockdown restrictions, others are still seeing figures rise.

The global number of cases of COVID-19 is rising at an accelerated pace, with sharp increases in cases in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States also remains high.

The WHO has also warned countries to prepare for new outbreaks, especially in areas where lockdowns have been eased. As of October 6, 2020, there were 7 458 550 detected cases in the United States, 6 685 082 detected cases in India, and 4 927 235 detected cases in Brazil. In August 2020, of the travel-related cases identified in Canada for which a country of origin is identified, 20% of cases were attributed to travellers from the United States.

There remains significant potential for a resurgence of travel-related cases in Canada if the border restrictions between the United States and Canada were to be lifted at this time. Adequate scientific support for the role of laboratory testing as part of a multilayered approach to reduce the risk of importation or to ease quarantine measures is not yet available. Opportunities to develop this necessary evidence are actively being explored.

Entry prohibitions coupled with mandatory isolation and quarantine remain the most effective means of limiting the introduction of new cases of COVID-19 into Canada. With some countries easing COVID-19 protection measures and the risk of new cases increasing in those countries as a result, the Government of Canada continues to take a precautionary approach to maintain the current border restrictions at this time in an effort to preserve the fragile recovery in Canada.

Implications

Key impacts for travellers

By limiting the number of incoming foreign nationals, Canada has taken strict border measures to limit the risk of the introduction or spread of COVID-19 transmitted via travellers from foreign countries, while maintaining critical services and support necessary for Canada.

This Order will continue to generally prohibit foreign nationals from entering Canada from the United States unless they are entering for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes, with some limited exceptions.

Foreign nationals travelling for any purpose will be denied entry into Canada if they know they have COVID-19, or they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19, or are exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, subject to certain narrow exemptions. The enforcement of the prohibition on entry for foreign nationals who arrive exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, despite having appeared healthy prior to boarding an aircraft or vessel, may be deferred to the extent required to maintain public health and ensure the safety of the commercial transportation system.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the prohibition on entry to Canada has significantly impacted the Canadian economy. However, the measures taken by the Government of Canada continue to be necessary to address the serious health threat posed by COVID-19.

Penalties

Failure to comply with this Order and other related measures under the Quarantine Act are offences under the Act. The maximum penalties are a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment for three years, or both.

Consultation

The Government of Canada has engaged provinces and territories to coordinate efforts and implementation plans. In addition, there has been consultation across multiple government departments, including the Canada Border Services Agency; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Transport Canada; Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada; and Global Affairs Canada, given linkages to other statutory instruments.

Contact

Kimby Barton
Public Health Agency of Canada
Telephone: 613‑960‑6637
Email: kimby.barton@canada.ca