New Travel Restrictions -All Points’ View – Perhaps some good news for Expats.

Beginning in the coming weeks (the date is not yet confirmed), travellers arriving to Canada, will have to be tested for COVID-19 and variants (testing has already come into place in Ontario).  

 Once tested, travelers will be required to spend 3 nights at a government approved hotel, at the tested individual’s expense (estimates of the expense have been announced as being about $2,000), until the test results become available. If the results are negative, the individual will be allowed to proceed to their residence to quarantine for 14 days. If the results are positive, the individual will be referred to another government facility for observation and additional testing.  

 Foreign Nationals should not refuse testing

 Our current understanding is that any individual arriving to Canada may refuse the testing on arrival, but if they do, they will be issued a $750 ticket per person. We do not recommend that foreign nationals refuse the test, as it may be just as easy for CBSA to refuse entry. 

 As of February 03, 2021, all international flights will be allowed to land at four (4) airports only:  Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

 How to Monitor the Situation

As the situation is developing, we expect to learn more in the coming days and weeks. If more information becomes available after the government clarifies certain aspects of the new policy, we will update our clients. In the meantime, you can check this link.

On another Government of Canada webpage, any indication of who, specifically, will be subject to new restrictions is omitted: 

 “As soon as possible in the coming weeks, all air travelers arriving in Canada, with very limited exceptions, must reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost, and take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival at their own cost. More details will be available in the coming days. ” 

The government has not announced what those limited exceptions may be.

 All Points has its Ear to the Ground

As it stands we believe that international corporate relocation to Canada may be unaffected than some may think. From speaking with our sources, one current interpretation is that the self-funded hotel detention will only apply to people who are found returning from a trip which is determined to be non-essential. According to this interpretation, arrivals with their Letters of Introduction and Family Reunification Letters are deemed essential. After the mandatory test on arrival, they should be allowed to proceed to their pre-arranged accommodation to quarantine there for 2 weeks.  

 Please note that this is one source’s interpretation only. We will update our clients when we learn any more. It has been more than once during this pandemic that the government has made announcements that have been less than clear with the public as to who could enter Canada and how international relocation to Canada would be affected. At one point, it certainly was felt that only essential workers as defined by the government website could enter, and that turned out to be too strict an interpretation. Those entering on LOI’s and FRL’s were able to get in shortly after the initial restrictive announcements. Whatever a more detailed announcement brings, All Points will stay close to this issue and update our clients as to the realities on the ground.

 Companies with lump sum allowances may have to adapt their practices

 Again, All Points is hopeful that those arriving with LOI’s are not affected by the government mandated hotel stay, but if it turns out that these measures do apply to foreign workers, this will obviously come at a cost to corporations. However, many arriving to Canada right now (particularly as part of the Global Talent Stream) are relocating with Relocation Allowances. Corporations should cover any mandated hotel stay on top of Relocation Allowance amounts, if in fact, this comes into affect for foreign nationals obtaining work permits. 

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