So Does Canada Have a Travel Ban?

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The Canadian Government has lots of information regarding who is permitted to travel to and from Canada (along with exceptions). There seems to be a lot of information to sort through. But let’s dig a little deeper as we hope to demystify the whole “travel ban” in place.

We will avoid being political in this post. This post is suppose to be as neutral as possible, but also highlights open-ended questions for food for thought. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Who can leave Canada?

The short answer is: anyone.

The site only really “advises” to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada” until further notice. Then it goes on to provide how best to protect oneself, along with warnings of travel risks. But there is no outright restriction or law against leaving the country.

Who can enter Canada?

There are more restrictions on who can enter the country. The following people can enter Canada:

  • Canadian citizen
  • Dual Canadian citizen with a valid Canadian passport or special authorization
  • Permanent resident of Canada
  • Person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
  • Protected person
  • Foreign nationals (including United States (US) citizens, can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible)

Most people on the list are pretty straightforward, but then the question is, who are foreign nationals?

Who are foreign nationals?

Foreign nationals are:

  • An immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident who is staying in Canada for 15 days or more
  • An extended family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident who is staying in Canada for 15 days or more
  • A person who is authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons
  • All other foreign nationals

When digger deeper on who are “all other foreign nationals”, you soon come to realize that the list almost feels endless, ranging from:

  • temporary foreign workers
  • international students
  • people approved to become a permanent resident of Canada
  • immediate family members to reunite with a temporary resident of Canada
  • air and marine crew members
  • any person will provide an essential service while in Canada
  • any person whose presence in Canada is in the national interest or invited by the Minister of Health
  • any person whose purpose is to make medical deliveries

Quarantine Rules

There is a “mandatory” 14 day quarantine rule (even with no symptoms) in place for people arriving in Canada. They will need to prove that they have:

  • A place to stay
  • How the traveller will get to their destination, get groceries and access essential services and medical care

The consequence is that the person “may not” be allowed to enter the country, as determined by a border services officer.

The penalties for not following the quarantine rule “can” include:

  • A fine of up to $750,000
  • 6 months of jail time
  • Being found inadmissible, removed from Canada and banned from entering for 1 year

CBC reported back on October 25, 2020, that 77 people have been fine and 7 people have been charged. I am going to assume that we can probably expect most of those people will be fighting this in court, so not sure how much money the government actually received from this (free and clear) and how many people are actually in jail when all is set and done.

And yes, there are ways to waive the quarantine rules, as there is a list of exceptions for that too on another Government of Canada webpage.

Who is prohibited from travelling to and from Canada?

If you read it backwards, who is actually restricted from coming into Canada?

Once we combine all the information together, correct me if I’m wrong, but it does not look like anyone is restricted from leaving the country. Which means that Canadian are free to go on vacation.

As for anyone entering Canada, out of the entire list, (leaving aside people who have symptoms of the virus or actually have the virus who will be outright turned away) it seems to only leave out tourists really as most (if not all) other reasons are pretty much covered in the exceptions list. I’m sure there are other people who will be turned away, but it probably takes a little more thinking on who else is restricted right?


Personally, I see a very loose restriction in place and manageable if people follow the quarantine rules. Whether you agree with the rules or not, hopefully this post demystifies the “travel ban” in Canada.

Feel free to share your thoughts, as well as any other information that you may find useful to travellers in the comment below. Please remember to be respectful of anyone’s personal opinion!


  1. This is completely wrong. All foreigners attempting to cross a land border are denied except for very narrow definitions of “essential travel”. Even important travel with a quarantine plan is not allowed. However, legally they are “denied entry”, not “banned”.

    Mostly those who are denied entry twice are banned for 1 year. When you are denied for the first time, you are not legally banned but given written orders that you are denied entry for the duration of the Quarantine Act. That means if you try again, you better have an airtight reason.

    Justin should stop this. Allow important visits with a quarantine and even ban all tourist activities for those allowed in. Justin is acting like Trump, no different except his hair is better. Same bully.

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