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Essential travel to Canada: what to know

While the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted all non-essential travel into Canada, it has also resulted in additional requirements for those arriving for essential reasons. If you’re in a situation where you’ve recently returned home from abroad, or you’re hosting family members from out of the country, it’s important to have a plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind for travelers to Canada.

  • Review the rules: To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Canadians, the Government of Canada has restricted non-essential travel to Canada. Make sure travel is permitted and any special documentation has been completed prior to arriving in Canada.
  • Have a 14-day quarantine plan: Upon arrival, the border services officer will request a quarantine plan, outlining transportation plans, accommodations and logistical details, such as gathering groceries. There are hefty penalties that come along with not following the plan, including a fine of up to $750,000 and even jail time.
  • Don’t forget about pets: Although pets are exempt from quarantine rules, there are special considerations for bringing animals into Canada. For example, dogs and cats that are older than 3 months need special documentation to verify their rabies vaccinations.
  • Travel protected: Health Insurance BC (MSP) has stated that all people in British Columbia, including people who would normally not be eligible for any provincially-insured health coverage (like visitors to Canada), will be provided provincially insured health care coverage for services related to suspected or confirmed cases of infection with COVID-19. Please check the COVID-19 Health Insurance BC (MSP) website often to have the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 coverage offered by Health Insurance BC. For everything else, it’s recommended visitors and those awaiting coverage through the Medical Services Plan (MSP) get coverage for emergency medical expenses through a private insurer, such as BCAA’s Visitors to Canada Travel Emergency Medical Insurance.
woman using online video medical consultation

BCAA Visitors to Canada Travel Emergency Medical Insurance

What’s covered: BCAA offers up to $300,000 in coverage for unexpected medical expenses, including emergency visits, prescription drugs and dental services through its Visitors to Canada Travel Emergency Medical Insurance plan. Options may also be available to cover stable and unstable pre-existing medical conditions and trip cancellation costs.

Who it’s for: Ideal for out-of-country visitors, temporary workers and students, as well as those new to BC awaiting provincial healthcare coverage through MSP, BCAA Visitors to Canada Travel Emergency Medical Insurance provides worldwide coverage, as long as the majority of the time is spent in Canada.

How it works: Through BCAA Guided Care, our claims assistance team will help you get the care that’s right for you. This could include virtual or telemedicine medical care over the phone, potentially letting you skip a visit to the walk-in clinic or hospital emergency room so you can get back to enjoying your time in Canada.

Although travel may be different right now, having a plan will keep you and others safe. To learn more or get a quote for BCAA Visitors to Canada Travel Emergency Medical Insurance, visit