Restrictions for Individuals Travelling to Canada from the United States (All modes)

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: TB/CBSA

Proposed Response:


Every day, $2.7 billion-worth of goods and services passes through the Canada-U.S. border and that trade is essential to both our countries. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada and the U.S. are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In our respective countries, individuals are encouraged and are recommended to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others (social distancing). This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.

Canada and the U.S. recognize the critical necessity to preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Canadians and Americans cross land border crossings daily to perform essential work, to study, or as a result of urgent or essential reasons. This travel should not be impacted.

To help manage the threat posed by international travel, Canada announced reciprocal measures with the U.S., for individuals in those countries who are travelling for non-essential, optional or discretionary reasons. 

Non-essential travel restriction

On March 18, 2020, the Governments of Canada and the United States announced that both countries would be implementing collaborative and reciprocal measures to suspend non-essential travel along the Canada-U.S. border in response to the spread of COVID-19. Non-essential travel includes, but is not limited to, tourism, recreation, and entertainment.

As of March 21, a temporary 30-day restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border came into effect. These temporary measures are effective as of Saturday, March 21, at 12:01 a.m. EDT for an initial period of 30 days, renewable.

Essential Travel

Some examples of essential travel purposes are:

Border Services Officers are use discretion when enforcing the restrictions.


Canadian citizens and permanent residents and Registered Indians under the Indian Act are exempted from the above. They will be provided with a Public Health Agency of Canada pamphlet containing the latest health advice that advises travellers to self-isolate for 14 days.


Regardless of how they seek to enter Canada, all travellers arriving in Canada, including workers who provide essential services, are subject to questioning about their health. CBSA Officers not only query travellers on the state of their health, they observe visible signs of illness and will refer any traveller who they suspect of being ill, regardless of how the traveller responded to the health screening question.


Prepared by: Jayden Robertson, Senior Program Advisor, Travellers Branch, 613-854-4541

Approved by: Calvin Christiansen, Director General, Travellers Branch, 613-954-6990

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