Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Friday that anyone travelling outside Canada could face considerable trouble getting back home, as new evidence suggests some COVID-19 variants are both more transmissible and more deadly.
“No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it. Don’t book a trip for spring break,” Trudeau said outside of Rideau Cottage. “We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada at any given moment without warning.”
The government has had travel advisories warning against any non-essential travel since the beginning of the pandemic, but some Canadians have not heeded that call. Trudeau said people should also avoid any unnecessary trips within the country.
After long resisting stricter measures, and downplaying the role international travel plays in Canada’s pandemic, the government introduced new testing requirements for incoming international travellers in late December.
Trudeau did not specify what further measures could be put in place and took no immediate steps, but Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said everything was on the table including mandatory hotel quarantines and complete travel bans.
“We are looking at a number of measures that can include further restrictions on international travel, additional tracing measures, additional quarantine measures and enforcement measures in order to disincentive people from taking unnecessary trips.”
Blair said Canada’s quarantine measures are some of the toughest in the world already, but the government would not hesitate to go further.
In a joint statement with industry unions, the National Airlines Council of Canada, pleaded with the government to work with them on any new restrictions.
In a statement, the council said international travel has dropped 93 per cent and travelers currently represent less than one per cent of new cases in Canada.