Exception from Prohibition on Entry for Immediate Family Members

Date: August 5, 2020
Classification: Unclassified
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: SPB/CBSA

Proposed Response:


New OIC 20: 20200549 (replacing OIC 17 : 2020-0524 Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country other than the United States) – In force until August  31, 2020.

In order for a foreign national to enter Canada from a country other than the U.S.:

New OIC 19: 2020-0538 (replacing OIC 16: 2020-0469 Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States) – In force until August 21, 2020.

In order for a U.S citizen or other foreign national to enter Canada from the U.S.:

In order for a foreign national to be allowed to enter Canada, the standard for entry must be met in full. In addition to meeting the standard of entry under the applicable Order in Council, the requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) must also be satisfied.

Immediate Family Members

For the purposes of the border restrictions, the definition of immediate family member has been aligned between Orders in Council and is as follows:

  1. the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  2. a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  3. a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b);
  4. the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
  5. the guardian or tutor of the person.

Guardians and tutors are individuals who are responsible for caring for a foreign national minor who is living apart from a parent for an extended period of time (i.e. to attend a secondary school in Canada).

Foreign nationals who meet the definition of an “immediate family member” may seek to enter Canada for a discretionary purpose if they can establish: their intent to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; their intent to remain in Canada for more than fifteen (15) days; and if they agree to comply with all the requirements to quarantine detailed in the Order pertaining to mandatory isolation. Foreign nationals who seek to enter Canada for fewer than fifteen days may still enter if the purpose of their travel is considered non-optional, or non-discretionary.

Other updates to Orders in Council

A minor technical amendment was included in the newest Order restricting entry from countries other than the U.S. to add “groups of persons” to the National Interest Exemption provision, in line with other previously issued Orders. The Orders maintains previous updates including a provision confirming that conveyances have the right to pass through Canadian waters or air space in accordance with Canada’s obligations under international conventions. The Orders maintain that travellers transiting to another country who land in Canada and remain in a contained area of the airport (sterile transit area) while in transit to their final destination are not prohibited from entering. Accredited diplomats, consular officers or other officials and their immediate family members entering Canada for the purposes of their posting continue to be exempt from the prohibition on entry.

Prepared by: Edward Ludwig, Manager, Strategic Policy Branch, 613-948-3436 / [Redacted]
Approved by: Kathy Thompson, Vice-President, Strategic Policy Branch, 613-941-4937 / [Redacted]

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