Canada considers full border closure

Inbound and outbound medical tourism from Canada is almost at a standstill and may stop altogether, as the government comes under increasing pressure to close air and land borders to international travel. Medical tourism to and from Canada is unlikely to return until 2022.

The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada.  The USA travel ban into Canada has been renewed.

Health Canada has also tightened entry rules. Anyone travelling into Canada through the land border with the USA or by air, including returning Canadians, must show a negative pre-departure PCR test no later than 72 hours before entry.

All travellers coming into Canada must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in the country, and a third test on day 8 of their 14 day quarantine period.

All travellers, whether arriving by land or air are required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight. All air passengers must quarantine in a government authorised hotel for at least three days, with the remaining time until day 14 at home.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Canada by air or land are subject to strict quarantine measures. This means that if Canadians go to Cuba, the Caymans, USA or Mexico for medical treatment they have to quarantine on their return. This has reduced outbound numbers dramatically.

A 30-day ban has been imposed on all flights to Canada from India and Pakistan. Flights from Mexico and Caribbean countries are already suspended.

There are exceptions for inbound and outbound urgent medical treatment but the rules are very strict and so complex that even physicians are confused as to what is or is not essential.

Opposition leaders and some province leaders are calling on the federal government for a complete ban on international travel.

Many politicians and health officials have also voiced concern about continued travel within Canada. British Colombia now restricts non-essential travel between three provincial health zones, while Atlantic Canada continues to be closed to the rest of Canada.