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Canadian border loosening travel restrictions to allow family visits

Family and people with an essential purpose for going to Canada may be allowed into the country after the border being shut down for months.

Canada is opening its border to allow immediate or extended family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and some foreign nationals.

The expansion of who can enter Canada comes after increasing public pressure on the government to show more compassion to families who are separated.  

Immediate family members must be staying in Canada for at least 15 days and have a 14-day quarantine plan.

Extended family members must be staying in the country for 15 days or more, have written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and have a quarantine plan.

Family staying for fewer than 15 days must be travelling for an essential purpose.

Those who don’t directly qualify under the expanded family rules will be able to apply to enter for compassionate reasons. That includes being present during the final moments of life for someone, providing support to a person deemed critically ill, providing care to a person on medical support, or attending a funeral. Those entering must also get authorization from Public Health Agency of Canada.

Those not traveling to Canada for compassionate reasons must be traveling for an essential purpose either directly from the U.S. or be exempt from travel restrictions.

The Canadian government says people should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new guidelines.  

Canada first closed its borders to all but a shortlist of essential workers in the spring in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.