Confirming reports that Canada is on the verge of unveiling stricter travel rules, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday (Jan. 22) that his government is considering measures that may include making quarantining at a hotel mandatory for travellers.
Compulsory quarantine in a hotel "is a possibility we are examining,” Trudeau told reporters at a press briefing from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
Trudeau did not say if returning travellers would have to pay for their quarantine at their own expense. The measure, as of now, is one of several options being discussed.
Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order for all international arrivals has been in place since March 2020.
Trudeau met with Canada’s premiers on Thursday (Jan. 21) to discuss “a whole host of options” that will protect Canadians against COVID-19 and prevent non-essential travel.
“No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now, if you’ve got one planned, cancel it, and don’t book a trip for spring break,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau referenced his own words of warning that Canada’s travel restrictions could change at any time and without warning.
“These measures will make it more difficult for Canadians to come home after a trip,” said Trudeau, speaking in French.
Several options being considered
Trudeau said he is considering a number of different options that could further limit travel as new variants of COVID-19 continue to surface around the world.
The Prime Minister said he would have more to share about travel restrictions in the coming days.
“This is not the time to be planning a trip abroad – especially a non-essential trip, a vacation,” Trudeau said, adding that these measures “will only be necessary for a few more months” as the vaccine rolls out.
In regards to the upcoming spring break, Trudeau said “people need to hunker down, stay home and make sure we kill this second wave the of virus” so Canada is in the “best position possible” to ward off new variants of the virus.
“The bottom line is this: it’s not the time to travel, either internationally or across the country,” he said.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc told French morning show Tout un matin on Friday that stricter travel rules are coming.
“There is no doubt that the quarantine measures and the question of screening tests on arrival, for example, will be greatly strengthened," Minister LeBlanc said. “We can centralize where the planes arrive, prevent charters from arriving in Quebec or Halifax."
Quebec Premier François Legault has been a vocal supporter of banning non-essential travel, taking issue with Canadians who are flying south to all-inclusive resorts during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 87 per cent of respondents said they would support a ban on international travel until COVID-19 case counts are lower.
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