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Travel between Canada and other countries, September 2020

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Released: 2020-11-23


Restrictions on non-essential travel into Canada remained throughout September as well as the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for Canadians returning from abroad. With these measures in place across all ports of entry, travel to Canada from both the United States and from overseas countries was down 95.3% compared with September 2019.

Similarly, the number of Canadian residents returning from abroad declined 92.8% from September 2019.

Overseas travel to Canada remains low

The number of travellers from overseas (countries other than the United States) to Canada remained low in September at 34,800, down 95.9% from September 2019.

Travellers from Europe (-97.5%) and Asia (-93.4%), Canada's largest markets, were down significantly compared with the same month a year earlier.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom declined year over year from 120,500 to 2,000 in September, while travellers from France fell from 81,900 to 2,400. Arrivals from China declined from 90,000 to 2,500 over the same period.

At the provincial level, Ontario (-324,800), British Columbia (-256,000) and Quebec (-146,200) recorded the largest absolute year-over-year declines in overseas arrivals during September.

Air arrivals from the United States stall

US residents took 113,000 trips to Canada in September, down 95.1% from the same month a year earlier.

The number of US travellers arriving by plane was down 97.7% year over year to 12,300 in September. On a monthly basis, following four consecutive increases, fewer US travellers arrived to Canada by plane (-12.2%) in September compared with August.

Car travel, which accounted for approximately 88% of all US arrivals in September, declined 93.0% year over year to 99,000. Almost three-quarters (72,800) of these car trips involved a same-day return, while overnight car arrivals (26,200) were down 96.1% from last September.

Every province recorded fewer arrivals from the United States in September with Ontario (-1.1 million) reporting the largest absolute decline.

Fewer Canadians returning from the United States

Canadian residents made 250,400 return trips from the United States in September, down 93.1% from September 2019 and the first monthly decrease since March.

Car arrivals, which accounted for approximately 86% of all Canadian travel from the United States in September, fell 92.2% year over year to 216,000. Of these, 190,400 were same-day trips, down 89.5%.

Although land crossings remained closed to discretionary travel to the United States, Canadians have been able to fly there since August, and during September, 32,300 did so. This was down slightly from August (36,500), but over one-third higher (+37.6%) from the low of 9,600 trips taken in May.

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 95.4% year over year.

Nova Scotia (-99.7%), Yukon (-98.8%) and British Columbia (-97.4%) reported the largest relative year-over-year declines in return trips by Canadians from the United States.

Fewer Canadians returning from overseas

In September, 74,400 Canadian residents returned home from travel overseas, down 17.9% from August 2020 and 91.5% lower compared with September 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 June to August 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 September 2020 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 36, no. 9 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

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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