It’s not business as usual, not even close.
But here at North Star, we’ve been working hard to continue to serve and advise clients as the rules change and shift before our eyes, sometimes mid-sentence. Our national immigration lawyer listserv has been tireless in reacting to the various announcements and guidance like it is in a tennis match: every volley from IRCC/Trudeau/Freeland/Mendicino creates an equally complex set of questions and requests for clarification, which in turn leads to more announcements, which in turn leads to more questions. And at the end of it all, anecdotes abound and inconsistency reigns at ports of entry and overseas airports.
So it was nice to receive an email tonight which is a notice from IRCC to prospective temporary and permanent residents. It attempts to consolidate and explain all the new rules, although I can already see some sections that have caveats or need footnotes and clarification, so that may be a project for the coming days.
I am reproducing it below.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada / Immigration Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada <IRCC.COMMDoNotReply-NePasRepondreCOMM.IRCC@cic.gc.ca>
Wed 2020-04-01 9:46 PM
|The Government of Canada is working closely with partners in Canada and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
If you are a representative, please let your clients know about this important information.
Effective March 18, 2020, Canada is denying entry to travellers who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. There are certain exceptions to these restrictions to permit essential travel for temporary foreign workers who have a work permit or who are approved for one.
If you are planning to travel to Canada to work soon, you need to be aware of public health measures in place to limit the spread of the virus in Canada. You also need to know what to expect upon arrival.
When you arrive in Canada, your health will be assessed when you speak to the border services officer. You must isolate for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory for all travellers, and there are significant penalties for anyone who does not follow this order. Please see New Order Makes Self-Isolation Mandatory for Individuals Entering Canada.
Like many countries, Canada is experiencing significant labour market challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many non-essential businesses are closed, especially in the service industry, or are operating with limited staff. If you have a job with a specific employer, confirm with them that they are continuing to operate and that the job they have hired you for is still needed. If you will be in Canada with an open work permit, it may be very difficult to secure a job at this time.
You must have a plan for how you will self-isolate for 14 days when you get to Canada and how you will obtain medical care if you become sick. While in self-isolation, you will be unable to leave where you are staying for any purpose. If you do not have a plan for self-isolation, including how you will buy groceries and access other essential services, please delay your travel until you have made one.
Before and during your trip,
If you are travelling by air, you should self-identify to airlines when you are boarding that you are exempt from travel restrictions by presenting
You will need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel to Canada. Do not travel to Canada if you feel sick. If you are sick, delay your travel plans until you are feeling well.
When you get to Canada,
While you are working in Canada,
There you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth. For today, anyway.