Home » Blog » #insurance » What’s considered Essential Travel during COVID-19?

Last updated on June 18th, 2020

Photo by C. Cagnin from Pexels

While the world is still reeling from the new coronavirus and travel restrictions are still in place for most countries, Canada recently gave a definition to what exactly essential travel means.

Currently, travelers such as temporary foreign workers, international students and immediate relatives of Canadian residents are exempt from Canada’s travel restriction. However, they now must make evident that their trip is for an essential reason.

  • Mandatory Self-Isolation:

In addition, all foreigners arriving in Canada must self-quarantine for at least 14 days as soon as they land. They will be required to illustrate a satisfactory quarantine plan for the next two weeks which will explain where they will be staying for the next two weeks and whether there will be vulnerable people there.

They will also have to explain how they will be getting the essentials, such as groceries and medications without leaving the house.

  • Reasons for Essential Travel:

The officers at the airport will ultimately be the ones determining which travelers are allowed in and which ones do not have a valid reason to be permitted entry into Canada.

The following are some of the travel purposes that are considered essential:

– Economic services and supply chains;
– “Critical infrastructure support;” which means providing service that is essential to the health, safety, security, or economic well-being of Canadians and the government
– Health (immediate medical care), safety and security;
– Supporting Indigenous communities;
– Transiting through Canada for essential purposes;
– Studying in Canada if an approval was received prior to March 18, 2020. International student applications are still accepted by the government of Canada and students will be notified when
they can travel;
– Taking care of a sick family member who do not have anyone to assist them in Canada; or
– Any other activities that are regarded as “non-optional” or “non-discretionary” by the Canadian government.

  • Non-essential Visits:

Optional and non-discretionary travelling is defined by the Government as trips taken for the purpose of entertainment, recreation and tourism in general. Visiting a family or coming for a vacation to Canada will not be considered essential and will not be permitted during current times.

Coming for the birth of a new family member and visiting a home that is not the person’s primary residence is also deemed as optional and not necessary. Unfortunately, even attending a funeral of a family member will not be allowed, mostly because due to the pandemic the number of people attending is already limited.

Being a relative of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will not equate to an essential reason for travel. The traveler must demonstrate that the trip they are taking is necessary for reasons such as coming to Canada for the purpose of living in Canada full time, as prospective permanent residents or temporary residents, coming to live with immediate family members.

  • Optional Travel Exemptions:

Another valid reason would be making the trip to Canada to care for a sick family member, who cannot take care of themselves and cannot have other arrangements made for them. Foreigners are also allowed to spend the pandemic period with their immediate Canadian family members to help get through this difficult period together and offer support physically and emotionally.

The 14 day quarantine rule will still apply and if travelers cannot prove they have a satisfactory plan in place, they may be forced to stay in a hotel or another dwelling deemed appropriate for the quarantine period by the government.

Various work permit holders might be exempt from completing the self-isolation period if they work in occupations that are critical for health, safety, and food security reasons. These include firefighters and medical service providers, students who are allowed to train in the health field, workers in the transportation field who are crucial for transporting essential goods.

Also, temporary workers who come to Canada in order to repair and maintain medical equipment and those whose job entails making deliveries for patient care. These work permit exemption applications are to be prioritized as ordered by the government of Canada.

  • Adequate Insurance Protection:

For those who have a valid reason to travel to Canada and are allowed in, it is extremely important to get private insurance, as most of the time they would not be qualified for the provincial health plans.

When looking out for a comprehensive insurance coverage, it is important to account for various coverage amounts since while a lower coverage such as $10,000 will cost less compared to a $50,000 policy, it may prove to be insufficient should you find yourself in a medical emergency.

It is worth noting that on average, hospitals may charge over $5,000 per day if you require hospitalization, which does not include more serious case scenarios such as surgeries, ICU or other costly treatment procedures.

Feel free to explore different insurance options on our website:

At Arbetov Insurance we can recommend a suitable plan and make sure you get coverage that will make you feel safe, even in the middle of a pandemic in a foreign country. Most insurance companies we work with still offer coverage for COVID-19, as long as you are not showing any symptoms so contact one of our agents who can find you an insurance policy that will put your mind at ease.

#insurance | #travel
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