Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Canada’s latest travel restrictions expected to be announced Friday as COVID-19 variants spread

Prime Minister expected to announce new measures aimed at the containing spread of COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce today new measures aimed at further restricting international travel as more infectious variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread around the globe.

Trudeau has urged Canadians for weeks not to take any non-essential trips outside the country.

And he has warned that the federal government could impose restrictions at any time that would make it harder for them to return.

He is expected to follow up those warnings today with action in time to stop an exodus of winter-weary Canadians from taking advantage of the coming March break to vacation in warmer climes.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault has been urging Ottawa to require anyone returning from abroad to quarantine for two weeks in a hotel, at their own expense.

Trudeau, who has conspicuously left the door open to that option, is expected to adopt it today.

He is also expected to announce other measures to further discourage travel abroad.

Non-essential travel into Canada by most foreign nationals has been banned since the pandemic first began sweeping across the country last March. Anyone entering the country has been required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The federal government began beefing up those measures earlier this month.

RELATED: Justin Trudeau mulls mandatory hotel quarantine for returning travellers

As of Jan. 7, the government has required proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure time, before anyone is allowed to board a flight to Canada.

Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have urged Ottawa to impose mandatory testing upon arrival in Canada as well. And they’ve proposed a ban on flights from countries where the new, more contagious variants of the virus are circulating.

Canada did temporarily ban flights from the United Kingdom after that country reported in December a new variant of COVID-19 that was spreading like wildfire. But the ban was lifted once the pre-departure test requirement came into effect.

Trudeau is also expected to announce the second instalment of funding to provinces and territories to help them safely operate schools during the pandemic.

Last August, Trudeau committed up to $2 billion through the Safe Return To Class fund. The first instalment was paid out last fall as schools reopened across the country for the first time since March.

At the time, Trudeau promised a second instalment early in 2021 to ensure support for the whole school year.

The fund is intended to help cover the costs of physically-distanced learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

READ MORE: Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

Coronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read