March 29, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Foreign Workers

Posted by Lijing Cao - Bellissimo Law Group PC

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a series of travel restrictions have been announced and put in place by the Government of Canada since March 2020. This article highlights some of the recent updates on travel restrictions and quarantine requirements so that Canadian businesses are aware of these new measures when hiring and brining in foreign workers.

  • Work Permit-Required

In general, foreign workers could be exempt from travel restrictions if they are coming for non-discretionary or non-optional purposes.[1] For instance, a foreign national who normally resides in Canada may travel to Canada with a valid work permit. A foreign national with a letter of introduction for work permit (i.e., work permit approval letter) may travel to Canada if he or she has a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.

  • Work Permit-Exempt 

Certain work permit-exempt foreign nationals are exempt from travel restrictions if their work is identified as essential for health, safety and food security reasons, or to support critical infrastructure. They may also be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements. The activities include the following:

  • providers of emergency services for the protection or preservation of life or property;
    • persons permitted to work as a student in a health field;
    • persons who seek to enter Canada to deliver, maintain, or repair medically necessary equipment or devices;
    • workers in the marine transportation sector who are essential for the movement of goods by vessel; or
    • persons who seek to enter Canada for the purpose of making medical deliveries of cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs or other body parts that are required for patient care in Canada.
  • Essential Service

The Chief Public Health Officer (“CPHO”) has determined certain classes of persons to be providing an essential service while in Canada, and therefore are exempt from travel restrictions. They may also be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements for asymptomatic people. The classes of persons include technicians or specialists specified by a government, manufacturer or company as required to enter Canada to install, inspect, maintain or repair equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure in energy and utilities, information and communication technologies, finance, health, food, water, transportation, safety, government and manufacturing sectors.

  • Air Travellers

Effective on 22 February 2021, travellers by air, unless exempted, are required to reserve and stay in a government-designated hotel for 3 nights while awaiting the COVID-19 molecular test results taken on arrival in Canada.[2] If the test result is negative, the traveller will be allowed to complete the remainder of the 14-day quarantine at the planned location, such as at home. If the result is positive, the traveller must complete the 14-day quarantine at a government quarantine facility.

The situation is still fluid and new policies may be introduced by the government. This article is prepared for information only and it is not intended to be legal advice. It is recommended that you contact us to discuss this topic or any other legal issues.