Much of Canada is reopening after months in lockdown due to the novel coronavirus, and that includes an easing of some domestic travel restrictions.
The federal government still emphasizes that all non-essential travel outside of Canada must be avoided, but some provinces and territories are beginning to welcome back their Canadian neighbours — and some are even doing away with the mandatory self-isolation period, making vacation more realistic.
For much of the pandemic so far, interprovincial travel in Canada has come with a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days before you can safely move around.
READ MORE: Lifting Canada’s border closure still too risky, Trudeau says
This rule is still in place for some provinces, while others — like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador — have entered into a travel bubble together, allowing residents to move freely without isolation.
If you are going somewhere that requires self-isolation, it’s important you do it properly.
Isolation is defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada as:
- Not going out of the home setting
- Not using public transportation
- Identifying a “buddy” to check on and do errands for you, especially if you live alone or are at a higher risk for developing complications
- Having supplies delivered to your home instead of running errands
- Wearing a mask and maintaining a two-metre distance between yourself and others in the event that you must leave your home
The B.C. government continues to discourage non-essential travel between provinces. However, Canadian residents who have travelled to another Canadian province are not required to undergo self-isolation at this time.
The only people required to self-isolate for 14 days are international travellers entering the province, according to the government website.
These travellers must submit a B.C. self-isolation plan and complete the federal ArriveCAN application upon arrival.
2:02B.C. summer staycation hot spots filling up fastB.C. summer staycation hot spots filling up fast
Workers exempt from the federal Quarantine Act, like air crews, transportation crews and people who provide essential services, are also exempt from the B.C. self-isolation requirements.
As B.C. enters Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan, non-essential travel within the province has been allowed to resume.
As of June 25, Alberta residents and visitors are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days if they return to the province from travel outside of Canada or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
Residents are also required to isolate for 10 days if they have any symptoms unrelated to pre-existing illnesses, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
READ MORE: Summer vacation options expand as coronavirus travel restrictions ease in Manitoba
Non-essential travel outside of Alberta to other Canadian provinces is not recommended, but a period of self-isolation will not be required upon return to Alberta.
“Responsible” travel within the province is permitted, according to the Alberta government, including to second homes, vacation homes, cabins and cottages.
The province of Saskatchewan has restrictions for both in-province and out-of-province travel as well as international travel.
Within Saskatchewan, travel to the northwest region of the province is partially restricted because of a higher risk of COVID-19 activity in that area. The full list of restricted communities can be found here.
The government recommends that any non-essential travel outside of the province is limited, but it’s not mandatory that you self-isolate for 14 days upon your return from an out-of-province trip.
2:17Is non-essential travel to B.C. from other provinces allowed in Phase 3?Is non-essential travel to B.C. from other provinces allowed in Phase 3?
At this time, self-isolation is only mandatory for international travellers.
The province of Saskatchewan asks that anyone entering from other provinces observes “all public health measures, including physical distancing and restrictions on the maximum number of people allowed to gather.”
The province of Manitoba moved into Phase 3 of its reopening plan on June 21, and with it came an easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Previously, travellers entering Manitoba from any other province were asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Now, anyone entering Manitoba from designated western Canadian jurisdictions is not required to self-isolate for 14 days if they are asymptomatic and have no known exposure to COVID-19.
READ MORE: Travel bubble coming to Atlantic Canada July 3
The western jurisdictions include British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Asymptomatic travellers from Northwestern Ontario — defined as west of Terrace Bay — who have no known exposure to COVID-19 are also exempt from self-isolation.
Travellers from all other Canadian jurisdictions will need to continue to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Manitoba.
“This is really the summer for people to see what Manitoba has to offer,” Linda Whitfield, Travel Manitoba’s vice-president of marketing and communications, previously told Global News.
“We’ve coined the campaign we’re launching ‘Show Manitoba Some Love.’”
There are currently no self-isolation requirements for people who travel to other provinces and then return to Ontario, according to the province.
However, in co-ordination with the Quarantine Act, any traveller coming from an international destination to Ontario is required to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they don’t have symptoms.
If you plan to travel within Quebec, the government asks that you follow its instructions for safe vacations amid COVID-19. Those recommendations can be found here.
The province of Quebec does not currently mandate any self-isolation period for people arriving from other Canadian provinces. However, it does discourage non-essential interprovincial travel.
Anyone returning to Quebec from a stay outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.
As the economy beings to reopen, the province of New Brunswick recommends that residents continue to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province and the country at large.
If residents need to travel for work, they are no longer required to self-isolate when returning from another Canadian province or territory, according to the New Brunswick government.
B.C. reports 27 new COVID-19 cases, community outbreak on Haida Gwaii
Coronavirus cases are rising by record numbers in every region of the world
Non-residents can enter New Brunswick from another Atlantic province without self-isolating for 14 days because New Brunswick is part of the “Atlantic bubble.”
1:59Atlantic bubble set to help families reuniteAtlantic bubble set to help families reunite
People living in other parts of Canada who are symptom-free are allowed to visit their family in New Brunswick, but they must self-isolate for the first 14 days of each visit unless they’re coming from an Atlantic province.
However, if you’re coming to New Brunswick from a non-Atlantic province and travelling for a reason other than to see family or for work, you will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
All entry to the province must be approved, and you will be monitored.
“Entry is conditional on each individual providing identity documents, including contact phone number, (agreeing) that they have been provided written information documenting the requirements of the chief medical officer of health and acknowledging that failure to comply with isolation and followup compliance checks by enforcement officials may result in consequences,” reads the province’s website.
Prince Edward Island
P.E.I. is also part of the Atlantic bubble beginning July 3, which will allow travellers from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador to move freely throughout the four provinces without any self-isolation requirements.
Right now, anyone else who returns from domestic travel elsewhere in Canada is required to self-isolate for 14 days or the duration of their stay, if shorter than 14 days.
This is required regardless of whether a negative test result for the coronavirus is received during that period, according to the province.
READ MORE: Montreal tourism industry wants consistency on interprovincial travel
There are some exemptions to this rule, including:
- If you have to travel to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia for a medical appointment or for work and you return to P.E.I. in the same day
- Families involved in shared custody agreements between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, and P.E.I. and New Brunswick, as long as travel occurs on the same day and no stops are made for non-essential reasons
- If you are entering P.E.I. to attend the wake, funeral and/or burial service of an immediate family member, you are required to self-isolate, but you can break isolation to attend the ceremony
If you intend to travel in and out of the province in the same day, you must have proof. The government recommends a receipt from the Confederation Bridge.
If you want to travel to P.E.I. from outside Atlantic Canada for vacation, you need to apply for pre-approved travel and you must have a 14-day self-isolation plan.
Once you have completed isolation, documentation confirming the self-isolation period was completed will be provided, and you will be allowed to participate in the Atlantic bubble.
When the novel coronavirus first hit Canada, Nova Scotia implemented a rule requiring anyone who entered the province to immediately self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Now, beginning July 3, the province will enter into the Atlantic bubble with New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, allowing residents to move freely throughout all four provinces without any isolation requirements.
However, visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must continue to adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each province, according to Tourism Nova Scotia.
2:07Toronto Pearson International Airport deploys new COVID-19 technologyToronto Pearson International Airport deploys new COVID-19 technology
In Nova Scotia, this means any visitors from non-Atlantic provinces are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Some people are exempt from this rule, including:
- Healthy people who have to cross the Nova Scotia land border on a regular and ongoing basis for work
- Healthy medical supply or pharmaceutical workers
- People visiting Nova Scotia for essential medical care, plus one support person travelling with them
- Members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Coast Guard and RCMP
- First responders
- Healthy trade and transportation workers who are employed in the movement of goods or people across the Nova Scotia border
Newfoundland and Labrador
Since May 4, travel in and out of Newfoundland and Labrador has been severely restricted.
The only people who have been permitted to enter the province are residents, asymptomatic workers and individuals subject to the self-isolation exemption order and individuals permitted to enter under extenuating circumstances.
READ MORE: Canadians have racked up $13M in coronavirus fines, racial profiling evident — report
Now, restrictions are easing up and Newfoundland and Labrador is entering into the Atlantic bubble, allowing anyone from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. to enter and leave the province without isolating for 14 days.
Entry to the province from any other non-Atlantic province remains prohibited unless approved by the chief medical officer of health for Newfoundland and Labrador.
As of June 24, any person who travels to Yukon from any other province, territory or country is required to undergo a self-isolation period of 14 days.
For Yukon residents and their relatives, according to the territory, self-isolation can occur in all communities after arriving in Whitehorse. Residents and their relatives are allowed to travel to their home community to self-isolate.
However, for non-Yukon residents, self-isolation must occur in Whitehorse.
Unless otherwise permitted by the chief public health officer, travellers to the Northwest Territories are required to self-isolate for 14 days in the following communities only: Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River and Fort Smith.
Residents are not allowed to self-isolate in a small community or other regional centre to prevent “overwhelming health costs to small remote communities,” according to the territory.
If you are a resident, you must complete a self-isolation plan within 24 hours of arriving and submit an online symptom check form on the second, sixth, 10th and 14th days of self-isolation.
1:07Coronavirus: Trudeau won’t rush to lift travel restrictionsCoronavirus: Trudeau won’t rush to lift travel restrictions
If you are a non-resident, you must complete a self-isolation plan and have it approved before travelling to the territory. You must also submit an online symptom check form on the second, sixth, 10th and 14th days of self-isolation.
Effective June 12, Nunavut residents are not included in the 14-day self-isolation requirement. They can travel within the Northwest Territories if they have not travelled outside of Nunavut in the past 14 days, according to the territory’s website.
Nunavut is part of a two-territory travel bubble with the Northwest Territories, allowing residents from either territory to travel to the other one without a 14-day self-isolation period.
Known as the Common Travel Area, the agreement applies to travellers who have not been outside of their respective territory for two weeks prior to travel and who plan to remain in either territory for the duration of their stay.
However, travel between the two territories requires completion of a form called the NU and NWT Traveller’s Declaration form.
Other than that, any resident planning to enter the territory by plane from anywhere else in the country is required to self-isolate for 14 days in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife.
READ MORE: Canada sees lowest single-day increase in coronavirus deaths in months
At the end of the isolation period, asymptomatic residents will be “cleared” and provided a letter signed by the chief public health officer allowing them to return to their home community, according to the territory’s website.
If you’re not a resident of Nunavut, you are required to complete an isolation reservation request form prior to travel into the territory. Seven days before the isolation check-in date, you must complete a pre-isolation check-in form.
The territory also has approved travel days available on its website.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from Global News’ Malika Karim, Aya Al-Hakim and Graeme Benjamin
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.