What is the change? Canada has announced that it will close its border to all foreign nationals this Wednesday.

What does the change mean? All foreign nationals, with the exception of U.S. nationals, permanent residents, diplomats, and family members of Canadian citizens, and personnel providing essential services, who have resided in a country other than the U.S. in the last 14 days, are banned from entering Canada. Any exempt personnel, and Canadian citizens, entering the country will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. The closure was announced during an address by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday.

  • Implementation time frame: March 18, 12:00 p.m. EDT.
  • Who is affected: Non- exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada for tourism and business purposes.
  • Impact on processing: Companies should expect immigration processing delays in the coming days and weeks, and should visit the Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for Visa Application Centre closures.
  • Business impact: Employers with non-U.S. employees traveling to Canada in the coming weeks will need to adjust business schedules

Additional information: The new travel ban expands upon measures introduced by the Canada Border Services Agency earlier this week that require all Canadian airports to screen international travelers for exposure to COVID-19. In addition to the restriction on inbound travel, all remaining international flights will be diverted to four airports: Pearson Airport in Toronto, Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport, effective Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Analysis & Comments: The new restriction on inbound travel represents Canada’s latest efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Employers should note that the COVID-19 outbreak is a fluid situation that is changing rapidly, and additional controls may be implemented in the coming days.

This alert was prepared by Garson LLP, an independent law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.