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Canadians In Costa Rica: What Are the Challenges in Returning Home?

It is a unique situation these Covid days as Canada tightens its entry requirements and thus affecting many Canadians that are currently outside the country.Whether you are a resident, perpetual tourist, or have ended up

It is a unique situation these Covid days as Canada tightens its entry requirements and thus affecting many Canadians that are currently outside the country.

Whether you are a resident, perpetual tourist, or have ended up on an unintentionally extended vacation here in Costa Rica – many Canadians are finding the thought of travelling during a pandemic and the new entry requirements back home daunting and difficult to navigate. Combine that with many airlines cancelling flights to and from Costa Rica and the options are even more limited. 

Some people are choosing to fly back via other countries first such as the United States then to Canada or staying in Costa Rica until flights back resume and attempting a border run via air to a country like Nicaragua or Panama.

Regarding the New Requirements

The Canadian government has announced additional testing required and more stringent quarantine measures for people travelling to Canada.

When arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, you will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when you arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of your 14-day quarantine period.

With limited exceptions (see the details here), you will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. You will be able to book your government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021. These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.

Hotel booking information will be available online as of February 18, 2021. You will need to book a hotel in the city in which you first arrive in Canada. If you receive a negative result on their arrival test, you will be able to take a connecting flight to your final destination.

There will be a number of hotels to choose from near each of the four international airports accepting international flights, in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

You can download and utilize the ArriveCAN app here, to help with your travel plans upload health information, or check the information in official Canadian Government site here.

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sjennings@outlierlegal.com

She has worked as an Immigration and Customs officer for 8 years in Canada as well as over 10 years of experience in Social Services in both Canada and the United States. She is also a photographer.

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3 COMMENTS
  • Avatar
    Max February 22, 2021

    As a Canadian who is currently in this situation it is very concerning. Many of the new measures are in fact illegal and are a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canadian citizens have a right to return home and have the right to unhindered mobility within the country. Furthermore, the Canadian Quarantine acts allows officials to screen incoming travellers but does not give them the right to swab for a PCR test. The full text of the section states: Any qualified person authorized by the Minister may, to determine whether a traveller has a communicable disease or symptoms of one, use any screening technology authorized by the Minister that does not involve the entry into the traveller’s body of any instrument or other foreign body.

  • Avatar
    Charlene February 22, 2021

    Hello Max. I am in a similar position, and have been in touch with the Canadian Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms https://www.jccf.ca/ regarding this. Can you please respond with the section of the Canadian Quarantine Act and any relevant sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Many thanks!!

  • Avatar
    Max February 26, 2021

    Hi Charlene,

    I have also been in touch with the JCCF. That is a good start. I’ve also joined the Canadian Snowbirds Federation who has petitioned the government on behalf of thousands of members. With regard to the Charter – Section 6 is all about mobility. https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/how-rights-protected/guide-canadian-charter-rights-freedoms.html#a2d

    You have the right to enter Canada and freedom of mobility within the country and across provinces.

    The section on the Quarantine act I referred to in my previous post is 14.1

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