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Travel between Canada and other countries, August 2020

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Released: 2020-10-23


Restrictions on non-essential travel into Canada, as well as the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for Canadians returning from abroad, remained in effect throughout August 2020.

With these measures in place across all ports of entry, travel to Canada from the United States and from overseas countries was down 96.6% compared with August 2019.

Similarly, the number of Canadian residents returning from abroad declined 94.1% from August 2019.

Overseas travel to Canada remained low

With travel restrictions still in place, foreign residents were not able to enter Canada for discretionary travel. As a result, the number of travellers from overseas (countries other than the United States) to Canada remained low in August 2020, at 37,800—down 96.4% from 1.1 million in August 2019.

Travellers from Europe (-97.8%) and Asia (-95.1%), Canada's largest markets, declined significantly in August compared with the same month a year earlier.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom dwindled to 2,600 (from 140,100), while travellers from France declined to 2,800 (from 117,700). Similarly, arrivals from China declined 97.9%, from 105,200 in August 2019 to 2,300 in August 2020.

On a provincial level, Ontario (-437,200), British Columbia (-308,500) and Quebec (-189,300) recorded the largest absolute year-over-year declines in overseas arrivals in August.

Most car arrivals from the United States involved same-day returns

US residents took 120,800 trips to Canada in August, down 96.6% from 3.6 million the same month a year earlier.

Car travel, almost 87% of all travel from the United States in August, declined 95.7% year over year, to 104,700. Most (72,200) of these car trips involved a same-day return, while overnight car arrivals (32,600) declined sharply—down 97.8% from last August.

The number of US travellers to Canada by plane was down 97.9% year over year, to 14,000 in August. Nevertheless, this was the fourth consecutive monthly increase since a low of 2,800 in April.

Although every province recorded fewer arrivals from the United States in August 2020 compared with August 2019, Ontario (-1.8 million) reported the largest absolute decline.

More Canadians returned from the United States

Canadian residents made 254,300 return trips from the United States in August. While this was a decrease of 94.7%, from 4.8 million in August 2019, it was more than the 233,700 trips in July, and the fourth increase since April.

Car arrivals, almost 85% of all Canadian travel from the United States in August, dropped 94.4% year over year, to 214,900. Of these, 182,200 were same-day car trips, down 91.7% year over year.

Although land crossings remained closed for discretionary travel to the United States, Canadians were permitted to travel to the United States by plane in August, and 36,500 did so—up 39.7% from the 26,200 trips taken in July. Nevertheless, provincial measures including health screenings and quarantine remained in effect, and the number of Canadian residents returning from the United States by plane was down by 95.1% year over year.

On a year-over-year basis, Prince Edward Island (-100.0%), Nova Scotia (-99.4%) and Yukon (-99.2%) reported the largest relative decreases in return trips by Canadians from the United States.

More Canadians returned from overseas

In August 2020, 90,600 Canadian residents returned home from travel overseas, an increase (+69.8%) from the 53,300 counted in July. However, this was a 91.9% decline compared with the 1.1 million return trips from overseas destinations recorded in August 2019.

  Note to readers

Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program uses administrative data from the Canada Border Services Agency 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 countries.

Since April 2020, releases have been based on unadjusted data (not seasonally adjusted) to emphasize the change in actual volumes. However, seasonally adjusted data are available in some tables. With the unusually small travel volumes reported since April, future revisions to seasonally adjusted data for 2020 are expected to be larger than usual and may impact monthly movements in the series.

Seasonally adjusted data for May to July 2020 have been revised.

For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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 nights' stay.


The August 2020 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 36, no. 8 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

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