Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 154, Number 30: ORDERS IN COUNCIL

July 25, 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. 2020-538 July 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.

  • common-law partner has the same meaning as in subsection 1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. (conjoint de fait)
  • foreign national has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (étranger)
  • immediate family member with respect to a person means,
    • (a) the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
    • (b) a dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
    • (c) a dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, 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)

Prohibition — signs and symptoms

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

  • (a) a fever and cough; or
  • (b) a fever and breathing difficulties.

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, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 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 the intent to stay in Canada for a period of at least 15 days.

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 requirement to quarantine under the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation), No. 3 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 person 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 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.

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 appointed under subsection 6(1) of the Public Health Agency of Canada Act, does not pose a risk of significant harm to public health;
  • (c) a protected person within the meaning of subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; 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 of P.C. 2020-469

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 Eastern Daylight Time on the day on which it is made and ending at 23:59:59 Eastern Daylight Time on August 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. 2020-469 of the same name, which came into force on June 19, 2020.

This Order complements the Order in Council entitled Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation), No. 3.

This Order will be in effect from 11:59:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on the date it is made until 11:59:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on August 21, 2020.

Objective

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

This Order supports Canada’s continued focus on reducing the introduction and further 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 across the globe. The science around 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 non-essential 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 close to zero. 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.

On June 22, 2020, the WHO announced it had recorded the highest one-day increase in total cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 183 000 added in a single day. There have been recent sharp increases in cases in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Cases of COVID-19 in the United States also remain high. As of July 10, 2020, there were 3 118 008 detected cases in the United States. The WHO has also warned countries to prepare for new outbreaks, especially in areas where lockdowns have been eased.

As a result, there remains significant potential for a resurgence of travel-related cases in Canada if the border prohibitions were to be lifted at this time. While point-of-care testing may be feasible in the future, the technology has not yet been advanced sufficiently to be considered for use at ports of entry. Consequently, 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.

By maintaining existing restrictions, Canada will continue to reduce the entry of COVID-19 linked to travellers entering Canada to the extent possible.

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 or are immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and entering Canada to be with that person for at least 15 days. Foreign nationals travelling for any purpose will be denied entry into Canada if 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.

There is no change from previous versions to the list of foreign nationals exempted in the new Order, including for those eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada at a port of entry under the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States. Upon entry into Canada, all persons become subject to the complementary order that requires asymptomatic persons to quarantine themselves for 14 days and symptomatic persons to isolate themselves for 14 days, with some exceptions.

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 presented 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 Canada, and Global Affairs Canada, given linkages to other statutory instruments.

Departmental contact

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