As many countries across the globe continue to see various strains and third waves emerging, the Government of Canada recently announced in the latest COVID-19 news that it would be introducing stricter travel restrictions in an attempt to try to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
It was announced that as of 11:30 pm on April 22, 2021, Canada’s travel restrictions would include a ban on all direct flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days.
This travel ban came into effect due to the recent spike in COVID cases. Canada’s transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, confirmed that those travelling to Canada through an indirect route would need to take a COVID-19 test at their last point of departure and provide proof of a negative result in order to be allowed into the country.
Not too long ago, Canada was forced to implement a similar travel ban on international flights from the UK for over two weeks as new COVID-19 variants were discovered.
Is the India COVID-19 Variant One of Concern?
The B.184.108.40.206 variant, according to Dr Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, at this point, is not one to be concerned about but rather one of interest.
On April 27, 2021, India saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases, 360,927 in just one day. India has had over 18 million COVID-19 cases with more than 201,000 deaths related to the pandemic.
This travel ban is purely a preventative measure to protect Canadians from another outbreak.
India has since seen a decrease in new daily cases after the recent spike.
Is the Pakistan COVID-19 Variant One of Concern?
Pakistan saw a tremendous spike in COVID-19 cases on April 25, 2021, with 10,436 new cases reported in a single day.
Pakistan has had over 816,000 positive COVID-19 cases with more than 17,600 COVID-related deaths reported so far.
As Pakistan struggles to contain its third wave, it is suspected that the UK variant is what likely caused the surge in COVID-19 cases, recently. This particular variant has been one of concern.
Is the India/Pakistan Travel Ban Permanent?
No, the travel ban will be in effect for a total of 30 days or until the Government of Canada feels that the increase in the number of cases has been sufficiently contained and that it is no longer of concern.
Although Canada has stricter travel restrictions in place, to protect its citizens and permanent residents, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, to donate $10 million to the Indian Red Cross as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilators.
SOURCE: Justin Trudeau - Prime Minister of Canada
How is Canada Handling the Pandemic?
As Canada continues to help fight the battle against COVID both locally and abroad, the Government of Canada has sent armed forces as well as medical and healthcare workers to various provinces such as Ontario and Nova Scotia to help contain the pandemic.
Nearly 2 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be delivered across the country this week alone as well as another 2 million in the following week. Canada has the second-highest number of vaccines being issued out of all G20 countries.
The current travel restrictions are in place until May 21, 2021, for all non-essential travellers, however, Canada has also made another important COVID-19 news announcement. The new Budget 21 Plan aims to:
- Create 1 million jobs by the end of 2021;
- Provide $420 million to improve the Canadian immigration application process;
- Update the Express Entry System to award more points for work experience;
- Provide $15 million to assist female newcomers with career advancements.
New Feminist Recovery Plan
Trudeau also announced that $147 million would be allocated to help finance women entrepreneurs through mentorship, training and funding and ultimately assist women in their small business ventures as well as provide a $10 a day childcare initiative for working women.
Who Can Travel to Canada?
To be considered eligible to travel to Canada as a foreign national, you will need to meet one of the following requirements:
- Be an immediate or extended family member of a Canadian citizen, a person under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident staying in Canada for 15 days or longer;
- Be a person authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons;
- Be a person participating in an International Single-Sport (ISSE);
- Be travelling to Canada from the U.S. for non-discretionary reasons; or
- Be exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions such as certain temporary foreign workers and international students, for example.
All international travellers are required to have a quarantine plan for when they arrive in Canada, a negative COVID-19 test result as well as travel and contact information which must be submitted through the ArriveCAN app.
How Does This Affect Canada’s Immigration Outlook?
Despite the effects that the pandemic has had on both the health and economy of Canada, the outlook for Canadian immigration levels looks bright. Not only has the federal immigration plan been increased to 1.23 million by 2022, but Quebec’s immigration minister, Nadine Girault, has acknowledged via a virtual press conference that the province is looking at “different scenarios” to raise immigration quotas in order to compensate for the shortfall of invitations issued for permanent residency in 2020.
According to Montreal CTV news, the target set was originally between 43,000 and 44,000 however approximately only 25,000 newcomers were welcomed to the province in 2020. Quebec, which operates under its own immigration system known as ARIMA, has a forecast annual growth of 50,000 by 2022.
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