The Stance of Provinces and Territories on Travel Restrictions as Omicron Concerns Rise


The federal government advises Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada because the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around the world. Incoming travelers are subject to testing and self-isolation requirements according to their vaccination status.

But when it comes to traveling to Canada, the rules vary. Individual provinces and territories may have their own set of quarantine restrictions and rules that people must follow in addition to federal guidelines.

For those traveling by plane or train between jurisdictions, federal policy currently requires everyone 12 years and over to show proof of vaccination to board domestic or international flights departing from most airports in Canada, as well as VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

Here is an overview of other rules travelers may face depending on the province or territory they are entering.

(There may be additional or separate rules for travelers from outside Canada or children under 12; see each jurisdiction’s website for details.)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Almost all persons 12 years of age and over entering Newfoundland and Labrador must submit this travel form within 30 days of their planned date of travel, with limited exemptions.

If a traveler is fully vaccinated:

  • Starting December 21, inbound travelers are required to self-isolate for five days upon arrival and take a rapid COVID-19 test every day for five days, after which they can exit isolation if all results are negative.

  • Rotating workers can undergo modified self-isolation during these five days, but must also book a PCR test between days 0-3. Anyone who has visited a post-secondary institution outside of the province in the past 14 days must also take a PCR test within the first few days of arrival.

If a traveler is not fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers should self-isolate until they receive negative results from a PCR test taken on day 7 or later, or self-isolate for 14 days if they choose not to be tested .

  • They must avoid vulnerable people and are not allowed to visit long-term care facilities, sporting events and large crowded venues within 14 days of arrival.

On December 17, the province banned all travel within the province for sporting, recreational and artistic events, although teams may continue to play in their own region.

WATCH | Canada tightens testing rules for international travelers:

All travelers will again need a COVID-19 molecular test before arriving in Canada

Friday, December 17 – Canada is increasing testing requirements for international travelers and lifting its travel ban on flights from 10 African countries as the government tries to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron. Starting Tuesday, all travelers will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test again before returning to Canada. We’ll talk to someone in the travel and hospitality industry about what the changes mean. 45:48

Prince Edward Island

All travelers aged eight and over will be tested at entry points, regardless of their vaccination status and the length of their stay outside the province.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers can request the PEI Pass, which can be used multiple times and allows entry into the province without needing to self-isolate.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • With some exceptions, travelers to Prince Edward Island who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for eight days and get another negative test result on day 8 to exit self-isolation.

  • They must complete a self-isolation declaration.

PEI announced new travel-related measures December 2, including a ban for children under 12 from traveling to participate in interprovincial sports tournaments or artistic and cultural events.

New Scotland

Almost everyone from the age of 12 must complete this secure registration form before entering Nova Scotia from another province or territory. This includes people who have been fully vaccinated.

Those who do not need to complete the form (complete list of exemptions here) include travelers following the COVID-19 Protocol for Travel to Atlantic Canada. These guidelines apply to people who travel regularly or for certain reasons between Nova Scotia and another Atlantic province.

Fully vaccinated:

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers may need to self-isolate for up to seven days, after which they may exit self-isolation 1) if they receive two negative test results or 2) without being tested if they have official documents showing that they are ‘they recently recovered from COVID-19.

  • Some travelers who are not fully immunized, such as some essential workers, are exempt from the self-isolation requirement but may need to follow a separate protocol.

On December 1, Nova Scotia announced new rules for children 11 and under which prohibit entering or leaving the province to participate in games, competitions and artistic or sports tournaments.

Passengers arrive at Montreal Central Station on October 6, 2021. Federal policy requires anyone aged 12 and over to show proof of vaccination to board VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains in Canada. (Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick

All travelers aged 12 and over must pre-register online here and provide proof of vaccination (or proof of medical exemption), with some exceptions.

Fully vaccinated:

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers should self-isolate for 14 days or until they test negative on day 10 or later. They will need to register for each trip to the province.

  • Travelers who have proof of medical exemption do not need to self-isolate and can apply for a multi-use pass.

Quebec

Travelers arriving from another province or territory do not need to self-isolate, but the province says non-essential travel should be avoided.

Travel to the territories of Nunavik and the Cree Territory of James Bay is limited to essential reasons (humanitarian, for work or to obtain health care). Those entering the regions are subject to conditions, including a 14-day quarantine.

Ontario

Travelers from another province or territory no need to isolate yourself unless they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

In Thunder Bay, authorities are asking residents to avoid non-essential travel outside the region whatever the vaccination status.

WATCH | Advice for travelers in the Omicron era:

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Richard Smart, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, says working with a professional travel advisor can help travelers navigate the ecosystem of changing rules and restrictions. 0:52

Manitoba

Fully vaccinated:

  • The travelers are no need to isolate yourself. However, they are strongly advised to take a COVID-19 test on day 1 of their arrival and then again on day 10.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • With some exceptions, travelers should self-isolate for 14 days regardless of test results or if they have symptoms.

Manitoba also has a public health order in place restricting travel to northern Manitoba and remote communities.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s website doesn’t list any province-specific travel restrictions, but does note travelers returning from out-of-province travel not having to isolate yourself.

However, passengers who traveled on flights with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after arrival.

Alberta

As in other provinces and territories, travelers to Alberta should follow federal requirements for travel to Canada.

WATCH | Canada cautions against non-essential overseas travel:

Canada warns of non-essential overseas travel as Omicron spreads

The federal government is urging Canadians to stay home or, if they must travel, plan ahead for quarantine and ensure they have travel insurance. 3:14

British Columbia

As in other provinces and territories, travelers to British Columbia should follow federal requirements for travel to Canada.

This means that proof of vaccination is required for ages 12 and over on board a plane, train and cruise ship. However, BC Ferries does not require proof of vaccination.

yukonese

While there is no restrictions prohibiting entry into the Yukon, the health authorities of the territory recommend avoiding travel between communities until further notice.

Some governments and First Nations communities may have additional travel advisories in place, which you can review here.

Northwest Territories

Non-residents are currently not permitted to enter the territory for pleasure travel, unless they are traveling to a remote tourist location. Certain other non-residents can benefit from an exemption.

All residents entering the territory, regardless of their vaccination status, must present a Self-isolation plan (SIP).

On December 17, the territory relaxed isolation requirements for some travelers while introducing new testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers are not required to self-isolate once they have an approved SIP.

  • Those who travel to small communities (as defined here) or who work or volunteer with vulnerable populations must take a test on day 0 or 1, followed by a test on day 8.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travelers must self-isolate for 10 days, but can end self-isolation early on day 8 if they get a negative test from a health care provider.

  • Those who travel to small communities must complete their self-isolation in a larger center.

A Canadian North ATR 42-500 aircraft takes off from Iqaluit airport in December 2020. Travelers departing or connecting through Iqaluit airport must meet federal travel requirements for vaccination and testing . (David Gunn / CBC)

Nunavut

All travelers who departure or connection via Iqaluit airport (including people traveling from Iqaluit to another community in Nunavut) must meet federal travel requirements for vaccination and testing.

While Ottawa has banned unvaccinated travelers over the age of 12 from boarding a plane or train in Canada, it is accepting a valid COVID-19 molecular test as an alternative for passengers in remote communities and in other limited situations.

Federal requirements do not apply to travelers traveling between communities in Nunavut that do not pass through the Iqaluit airport.


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