The Government of Canada is taking unprecedented action to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic. This includes continually assessing the risks to adapt responses accordingly.
Canada’s Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act already requires anyone entering Canada — whether by air, land or sea — to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic to limit the spread of COVID-19.
An updated order this week specifies that any traveler arriving in Canada — whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic — cannot isolate or quarantine in a place where they can expect to be in contact with people who are vulnerable, such as adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Thus, upon arrival, every traveler will have to confirm that they have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where they will have access to basic necessities, such as food and medication. Travelers will be expected to make plans for where they will isolate or quarantine in advance of arriving to Canada and those who do not have an appropriate place in to isolate or quarantine will have to go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. These criteria are now newly applied to asymptomatic travelers.
As our knowledge about COVID-19 evolves, we continue to adjust our response to this epidemic. These changes will make it clearer to asymptomatic travelers arriving in Canada that they need to have an appropriate place to self-isolate, where they will not put any vulnerable people such as adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions at risk,” said Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, in a statement.
In addition, all travelers arriving in Canada will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to proceed to their final destination where they will isolate or quarantine. They will be provided with a mask if they do not have one.
These new mandatory measures are an additional layer in Canada’s actions to protect the public, and aimed at protecting seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions – those who are at greatest risk of severe health complications related to COVID-19.
• The Order is mandatory and in force as of April 15, 2020
• The Order applies to all people entering Canada, with few exceptions. Certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and essential services, or individuals who receive or provide other essential services to Canadians, are exempt from the requirements to quarantine themselves, as long as they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 upon entry in Canada.
• Persons exempt from mandatory quarantine are still required to wear an appropriate mask or face covering upon entry into Canada and while in transit, and should otherwise respect the intent of the Order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
• Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
• Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both, for failure to comply with this Order.
• A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening the Quarantine Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.