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Travel between Canada and other countries, November 2018

Released: 2019-01-23

US travel to Canada increases

Trips to Canada by US residents rose 0.7% in November to 2.1 million, as both car and plane travel increased. After adjusting for normal seasonal variation, this was the second-highest monthly total in 2018, after March.

US residents made 1.4 million trips to Canada by car in November, up 1.0% from October and up 1.3% from November 2017. Overnight car trips from the United States increased 2.4% in November to 690,000, while same-day car travel declined 0.5% to 683,000.

US travellers took 397,000 overnight plane trips to Canada in November, up 2.5% from October and the sixth consecutive monthly increase. Ontario (+5.0%) and Quebec (+3.8%) had the largest gains in November.

Travel from overseas declines in November

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) took 588,000 trips to Canada in November, down 0.1% from October. Overseas travel to Canada from Europe (-0.9%) and Asia (-1.2%) declined, while travel from South America (+10.4%) and Central America and the Caribbean (+1.8%) was up.

At the provincial level, Ontario reported the most arrivals from Europe (97,000) and Central America and the Caribbean (34,000), while British Columbia received the most arrivals from Asia (91,000) and Oceania and other islands (23,000). Quebec reported 72,000 arrivals from Europe and 14,000 from Asia.

Fewer Canadians travel to the United States in November

Travel by Canadian residents to the United States declined 1.5% to 3.6 million trips in November, following two consecutive monthly increases. A decrease in car travel more than offset an increase in trips by plane. On average, the number of Canadian residents travelling to the United States each month in the second half of 2018 was 5.2% lower than during the first six months of the year.

This travel pattern coincided with changes in the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the American dollar. The value of the Canadian dollar declined from $US0.80 in January to $US0.75 in November.

Car travel, which accounted for about three-quarters of all trips by Canadian residents to the United States in November, was down 2.3% to 2.6 million trips. This decrease was mainly attributable to fewer same-day car trips to the United States (-3.4%). The largest declines in same-day car trips were in British Columbia (-4.8%), Quebec (-4.2%) and Ontario (-2.7%). Meanwhile, the number of same-day car trips increased in Alberta (+0.8%), Saskatchewan (+1.6%) and Yukon (+9.1%).

Overnight trips by car totalled 874,000 in November, up slightly (+0.1%) from October, but down 5.2% compared with November 2017. While the number of overnight car trips declined in most provinces, it increased in British Columbia (+1.0%), Manitoba (+1.6%) and Saskatchewan (+3.3%).

Overnight plane trips to the United States rose for the third consecutive month in November, up 1.1% to 852,000—a level 9.5% higher than the monthly average for the first half of the year. Most provinces recorded increases in November, while Ontario (-1.9%) and Manitoba (-3.3%) posted declines.

Travel from Canada to overseas destinations increases

About 986,000 Canadians returned from overseas countries in November, up 1.5% from October, following three consecutive monthly declines.

  Note to readers

Monthly data are seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see "Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions." Year-to-date figures are based on unadjusted data.

Seasonally adjusted data from January 2014 to October 2018 have been revised. Non-seasonally adjusted data were revised for October 2018 at Kingsgate Port, British Columbia. Corrections were made to non-seasonally adjusted data from January 2018 to October 2018 for Toronto International Airport T1, Ontario. The revision involves counts of travellers from overseas and counts of "Other travellers, immigrants and former residents."

In 2018, Statistics Canada has been updating its sources of data for counts of overseas residents entering Canada at land ports. Overseas residents who enter Canada at land ports represent about 10% of total overseas travellers to Canada. Total counts of overseas travellers have been revised to reflect new sources of data at some ports. In addition, starting with August 2018 data, Statistics Canada implemented a new method for estimating the country of residence breakdowns of these overseas travellers entering Canada at most land ports. These changes have varying degrees of impact on the total counts of travellers to Canada from individual countries. Users are therefore advised to use caution when comparing changes in travel to Canada with previous months for individual overseas countries.

Users are advised to exercise caution when a) making comparisons with 2017 data that include international travellers to Canada by air for the months of March to December, and b) analyzing 2018 data on Canadian residents returning from the United States or overseas by air. Further explanation is provided below.

Data for Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program are produced using administrative data received from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on all international travellers who have been cleared for entry or re-entry into Canada. This includes residents of Canada, the United States and overseas entering Canada from abroad.

In 2017, the CBSA began introducing the electronic Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK) system at airports in Canada. The PIK system replaces the E311 Declaration Cards that are completed by international travellers to Canada. Initially, while awaiting receipt of PIK data, Statistics Canada prepared preliminary estimates for airports at which the PIK system was deployed.

Frontier Counts data since January 2018 incorporate PIK data from the airports where the system has been implemented. The preliminary estimates of 2017 traveller counts for PIK airports will be revised at a later date.

Until preliminary estimates from March to December 2017 have been revised, users are advised to exercise caution when making comparisons with data for these months that include international travellers to Canada by air.

Data users are also cautioned that the switch from E311 cards to PIK has affected the historical comparability of some data series. Most notably, there has been an increased tendency of Canadian travellers returning from overseas trips via the United States to report that they are returning from the United States and not overseas via the United States. In the Frontier Counts, this has led to increases in the numbers of Canadian residents returning from the United States by air in 2018, and decreases in the numbers of Canadian residents returning from countries other than the United States by air via the United States (as well as more aggregated series to which these data contribute).

The numbers of travellers to and from Canada by car and other modes of transportation are not affected by revisions to PIK data. Further information is available in the document Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data.

Overseas countries refer to countries other than the United States.

A Canadian resident traveller is a Canadian resident who has travelled outside Canada for a period of less than 12 months.

A non-resident traveller is a resident of a country other than Canada who is travelling to Canada for a period of less than 12 months.

An overnight traveller or a tourist is a traveller whose trip includes one or more night's stay.


The November 2018 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 34, no. 11 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

For more information regarding the impacts on Statistics Canada travel and tourism data resulting from the replacement of E311 cards with the Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK), please consult the document Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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