Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response

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How Canada is responding to COVID-19

For detailed information on Canada's whole-of-government actions to respond to the outbreak, refer to the Government of Canada's response to COVID-19.

Economic and financial support

To learn more about Canada’s actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, refer to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Travel advisories

The Government of Canada is continually assessing travel risks for Canadians. An official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.

It may be increasingly difficult to travel in and out of some destinations. If you are currently in a destination with travel restrictions and your presence there is not essential, you should consider leaving by commercial means while these are still available.

At Canadian borders

Until June 30, 2020, travel to Canada will be restricted for all foreign nationals coming from any country other than the United States (U.S.). Certain restrictions will apply to those travelling from the U.S.

These new restrictions prohibit foreign nationals, including U.S. nationals, from entering Canada for non-essential travel.

Restrictions and exemptions for foreign nationals

Foreign nationals may not enter Canada by air or marine if they are arriving from a foreign country other than the U.S.. The following exceptions apply:

Restrictions and exemptions for Canadian and U.S. citizens

As of March 21, 2020, there is a 30-day restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border.
This restriction covers all travel of an optional or discretionary nature, such as:

Healthy people who must cross the border for work or other essential purposes, such as medical care, may continue to do so.

Some examples of essential travel purposes are:

Canada and the U.S. recognize how closely our economies are integrated. It is essential that trade continue during this pandemic. Economic supply chains remain open and we will work to ensure that access to goods and services is not interrupted.

Crossing the border

Entry screening is an important public health tool. Canada Border Services Agency officers are trained to perform entry screening.

They will ask U.S. travellers and foreign nationals about the purpose of their visit and whether they are feeling ill or unwell. They may also ask other questions.

Some Canadians and Americans, such as truck drivers, firefighters and nurses, cross the border every day to work or study. They will not be impacted by the new border measures.

All international passenger flight arrivals have been redirected to one of 4 airports:

Self-isolation for returning travellers

All travellers who are permitted to enter or return to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon entry. There are exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people. Individuals should avoid contact with other people for 14 days, while monitoring themselves closely for symptoms.

When showing signs and symptoms of infection

If you are Canadian or a permanent resident, and you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you may still enter Canada by land, rail or marine. You may not enter Canada by air, to protect the health of all travellers.

If you are not Canadian or a permanent resident, and you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you will not be permitted to enter Canada. 

If you show signs of an infectious disease, officials will contact a quarantine officer.

The quarantine officer will perform a more detailed assessment. If necessary, the quarantine officer may:

Support for Canadians abroad

To help Canadians return home or cope with challenges they are facing while travelling, the Government of Canada has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.

The Program will provide the option of an emergency loan to Canadians in need of immediate financial assistance to return home or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.

Global Affairs Canada is providing 24/7 consular support to Canadians abroad affected by COVID-19 through the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and through consular staff at its network of missions.

Collaboration

The Federal/Provincial/Territorial Public Health Response Plan for Biological Events has been activated to ensure a coordinated response across Canada.

A special advisory committee has been established to advise the Deputy Ministers of Health on the coordination, public health policy and technical content related to this outbreak. This committee consists of the members of the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council and the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with partners domestically and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to this outbreak.

Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has developed a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test that can diagnose COVID-19 from clinical specimens. The NML is working collaboratively with Canadian provincial public health laboratories to ensure there is additional testing capacity in multiple jurisdictions.

At this time, the NML also supports the use of other international assays that have been posted publicly.

Further collaborative scientific studies to investigate the virus are underway.

The Government of Canada is working with international regulators to help fast-track clinical trials and applications for vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities held a global medicines regulators web meeting on March 18, 2020. Discussions included regulatory considerations for anticipated COVID-19 vaccine candidates to advance regulatory convergence. A key objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on an approach to the requirements to support first-in-human clinical trials. The press release and meeting report are available for access. Health Canada has also engaged with international regulatory partners under the Australia-Canada-Singapore-Switzerland Consortium to explore potential collaboration on regulatory issues related to COVID-19.

We are also working closely with international regulatory partners, including the European Medicines Agency, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to share information on any signals of global supply disruptions.

For clinical trial sponsors

Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact us to facilitate clinical trials.

Clinical trials are studies to find out whether a drug or medical device is safe and effective for people. We can authorize a clinical trial quickly in urgent situations.

Please contact us at:

Drug and medical device supply monitoring

The Government of Canada is actively monitoring the novel COVID-19 and its impact on the supply of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, natural health products and medical devices in Canada. We do this through regular contact with:

We are aware that there may be supply disruptions related to COVID-19 and are monitoring the situation closely.

Companies that market prescription drugs for human use in Canada must report anticipated or actual drug shortages on Drug Shortages Canada. We have contacted companies to remind them of this requirement. Industry stakeholder associations have also been asked to notify us of any early signals of shortages related to COVID-19. Drug and medical device shortage signals can also be reported by the provinces and territories, healthcare professionals or the public.

We will continue to use all available tools to help manage critical national shortages when they happen, and work with partners so that Canadians have access to the medications they need. Learn more about drug shortages in Canada.

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