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Where provinces and territories stand on travel restrictions as Omicron concerns rise

When it comes to travel within Canada, provinces and territories may have their own set of restrictions and quarantine rules that people must follow in addition to federal guidelines.

Travellers walk through Pearson airport in Toronto on Thursday. In addition to federal guidelines for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, provinces and territories may have their own set of restrictions and quarantine rules. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 

The federal government is advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly worldwide. Incoming travellers are subject to testing and self-isolation requirements based on their vaccination status.

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

For people travelling by plane or train between jurisdictions, a federal policy currently requires everyone 12 and up 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’s a look at some of the other rules travellers may face depending on the province or territory they are entering.

(There may be additional or separate rules for travellers coming from outside of Canada or children under the age of 12; check each jurisdiction’s website for details.)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nearly everyone 12 and up entering Newfoundland and Labrador must submit this travel form within 30 days of their expected travel date, with limited exemptions.

If a traveller is fully vaccinated:

  • Starting Dec. 21, incoming travellers must self-isolate for five days upon arrival and take a rapid COVID-19 test every day for five days, after which point they can leave isolation if all results are negative.
  • Rotational workers can follow modified self-isolation for those five days but must also book a PCR test between Days 0-3. Anyone who has visited a post-secondary institution outside the province in the past 14 days must also take a PCR test within their first days of arrival.

If a traveller is not fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers must self-isolate until they receive the 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 barred from visiting long-term care facilities, sporting events and large crowded settings in the first 14 days after they arrive.

On Dec. 17, the province banned any travel around the province for sporting events, recreation and arts events, though teams can continue to play within their own region.

WATCH | Canada tightens testing rules for international travellers:

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

Prince Edward Island

All travellers aged eight and up will be tested at the points of entry, regardless of immunization status and how long they were outside of the province.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers can apply for the PEI Pass, which can be used multiple times and allows entry into the province without the need to self-isolate.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • With some exceptions, travellers to P.E.I. who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for eight days and obtain another negative test result on Day 8 to leave self-isolation.
  • They must complete a self-isolation declaration.

P.E.I. announced new travel-related measures on Dec. 2, including a ban on children under 12 travelling to participate in interprovincial sporting tournaments or art and cultural events.

Nova Scotia

Nearly everyone ages 12 and up must complete this safe check-in form before entering Nova Scotia from another province or territory. This includes people who are fully vaccinated.

Those who don’t need to complete the form (full list of exemptions here) include travellers who are following the COVID-19 Protocol for Atlantic Canada Travel. This guidance applies to people who travel between Nova Scotia and another Atlantic province regularly or for certain reasons.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers are not required to self-isolate, though testing is recommended.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers may need to self-isolate for seven days, at which point they can leave self-isolation 1) if they receive two negative test results or 2) without getting tested if they have official documentation showing they recently recovered from COVID-19.
  • Certain travellers who are not fully vaccinated, such as some essential workers, are exempt from the self-isolation requirement but may need to follow a separate protocol.

On Dec. 1, Nova Scotia announced new rules for children 11 and under that prohibit travelling into or out of the province to participate in arts or sports games, competitions and tournaments.

 

Passengers arrive at Montreal’s Central Station on Oct. 6, 2021. A federal policy requires everyone 12 and up to show proof of vaccination to board VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains in Canada. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

 

New Brunswick

All travellers ages 12 and up must pre-register online here and provide proof of vaccination (or proof of medical exemption), with some exceptions.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers are not required to self-isolate and can apply for a multi-use pass.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers must self-isolate for 14 days or until they obtain a negative test result on Day 10 or later. They will be required to register for each trip into the province.
  • Travellers who have proof of a medical exemption don’t need to self-isolate and can apply for a multi-use pass.

Quebec

Travellers arriving from another province or territory don’t 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 restricted 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

Travellers arriving from another province or territory don’t need to self-isolate unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.

In Thunder Bay, officials are asking residents to avoid all non-essential travel outside the region regardless of vaccination status.

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

Manitoba

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers are not required to self-isolate. However, they are strongly advised to get a COVID-19 test on Day 1 of arrival, and again on Day 10.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • With some exceptions, travellers must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of test results or whether they are showing symptoms.

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

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s website does not list any province-specific travel restrictions, but notes travellers returning from an out-of-province trip do not have to self-isolate.

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

Alberta

As with other provinces and territories, travellers in Alberta must follow federal requirements for travel within Canada.

WATCH | Canada warns against non-essential travel abroad:

Canada warns against non-essential travel abroad as Omicron spreads

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

British Columbia

As with other provinces and territories, travellers in British Columbia must follow federal requirements for travel within Canada.

That means proof of vaccination is required for those ages 12 and up on plane, train and cruise ships. However, BC Ferries does not require proof of vaccination.

Yukon

While there are no restrictions barring entry into Yukon, the territory’s health officials recommend avoiding travel between communities until further notice.

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

Northwest Territories

Non-residents are currently not allowed to enter the territory for leisure travel unless they are travelling to a remote tourist location. Certain other non-residents may qualify for an exemption.

All residents entering the territory, regardless of vaccination status, must submit a Self-Isolation Plan (SIP).

On Dec. 17, the territory loosened isolation requirements for some travellers while introducing some new testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

Fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers are not required to self-isolate once they have an approved SIP.
  • Those travelling into small communities (as defined here) or who either work or volunteer with vulnerable populations must take a Day 0 or 1 test, followed by a Day 8 test.

Not fully vaccinated:

  • Travellers must self-isolate for 10 days but can end self-isolation early on Day 8 if they obtain a negative test taken by a health-care provider.
  • Those travelling into small communities must complete their self-isolation in a larger centre.

 

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

 

Nunavut

All travellers who depart or connect through Iqaluit airport (including people who travel from Iqaluit to another Nunavut community) must meet the federal travel requirements for vaccination and testing.

While Ottawa has barred unvaccinated travellers 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 from remote communities and in other limited situations.

The federal requirements don’t apply to travellers flying between Nunavut communities who do not transit through the Iqaluit airport.

 

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