Government of Canada suspends flights from India and Pakistan
April 22, 2021 Ottawa
With a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for travellers, Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, announced new rules for some international travel.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has been monitoring case data, and through mandatory testing upon entry into Canada, has detected a disproportionally higher number of cases among individuals travelling on flights originating from India and Pakistan. Given the high number of cases, the Government of Canada has taken additional measures:
- Transport Canada has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to suspend all commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days, effective 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021.
- The Minister of Transport will amend the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19, which means for passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada after 23:30 EDT April 22, 2021, via an indirect route, they will need to obtain a COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.
- These measures will help manage the elevated risk of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada during a time of increasing pressure on our health care system.
Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by the latest science. Over the past few months, the Government of Canada introduced enhanced testing requirements for travellers arriving in Canada. These requirements include mandatory submission of contact, travel and quarantine information via ArriveCAN, pre-departure (air) or pre-arrival (land) testing, on-arrival testing and again later during 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
The Government of Canada also put in place more stringent criteria for suitable quarantine plans and a mandatory hotel stopover for travellers arriving by air while they await the results of their on-arrival test before completing the rest of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
“The pandemic continues to create an unprecedented crisis in the global aviation industry, and our government continues to take action to protect the health and safety of Canadians. That is why Transport Canada has issued a notice to air operators to temporarily suspend passenger flights from India and Pakistan—where there is an elevated number of passengers arriving with cases of COVID-19.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
“Throughout this pandemic, we have adapted our response to emerging science with one goal in mind: protecting Canadians. This is what we are doing again today. We have established some of the strongest border measures in the world, to test, screen, and quarantine incoming travellers. With the current pressure on hospitals and health care workers, we also need to reduce our contacts and avoid crowded places more than ever.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
“As COVID-19 continues to cause unprecedented public safety challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to keep our borders strong and Canadians safe and healthy. These new measures complement those we already have in place and will play a critical role in controlling COVID-19 and variants of concern.”
The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“As we have shown since the onset of the pandemic, our government will never hesitate to take decisive action to protect the health and safety of Canadians. At this difficult moment, we thank those planning to come to Canada for their patience and understanding, in particular travellers from India and Pakistan who want start a new life here. We look forward to welcoming affected travellers to Canada once it is safe to do so.”
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“We’re moving forward with these additional travel restrictions to protect Canadians in all provinces and territories from the continued spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Since the beginning of this unprecedented pandemic, the health and safety of Canadians has been our number one priority – this will not change. As we continue to engage with provincial and territorial partners to distribute vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible, we will also work to ensure that we are preventing the spread and introduction of new variants of the virus into Canada.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Canada is now experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 cases accelerated by many factors, including variants of concern, as well as emerging variants of interest. Many provinces are experiencing an increasing number of cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions surpassing previous records. These trends emphasize the importance of maintaining strong public health and border measures that reduce the risk of importation of cases.
The NOTAM, which advises air operators of the suspension of passenger flights arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan, is a temporary measure for 30 days while the government assesses the evolving situation and determines appropriate measures going forward.
To ensure aviation safety and reduce operational interruptions, flights from India or Pakistan that are already in transit (in the air) at the time of the publication of the NOTAM will be allowed to proceed to Canada.
All passenger flights and business aviation flights will be captured by the NOTAM. Cargo only operations, medical transfers or military flights will not be included.
From February 22 to April 19, 2021, the Public Health Agency of Canada received Day 1 test results for 274,822 travellers (air and land travel) of which 1.4% or 3,732 tested positive for COVID 19.
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