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Travel between Canada and other countries, October 2020

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Released: 2020-12-22


Restrictions on non-essential travel into Canada remained throughout October 2020, as well as the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for Canadians returning from abroad. As a result, arrivals to Canada both from the United States and from overseas countries were down 94.2% compared with October 2019.

In October, the number of Canadian residents returning from either the United States (-92.3%) or overseas countries (-90.9%) was down sharply year over year.

Travel restrictions continue

Restrictions on non-essential travel to and from Canada, which initially took effect in mid-March, have been in place for 10 months. With a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting many parts of the world, it is likely that the restrictions will be further extended to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Overseas travel to Canada remains low

The number of travellers to Canada from overseas (countries other than the United States) remained low, at 27,400, in October, down 95.2% from October 2019.

Arrivals from Canada's largest markets, Europe (-96.6%) and Asia (-93.3%), were down significantly compared with the same month a year earlier.

Travel from India, the country with the most recorded COVID-19 cases after the United States, declined year over year from 22,100 arrivals to 4,900 in October. Arrivals from China—the leading source market for travel from Asia—also decreased, from 58,900 in October 2019 to 2,200.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom fell 97.0% year over year to 2,000 in October. Similarly, arrivals from France, the country most affected by the COVID-19 resurgence in Europe, declined year over year from 61,500 to 1,800.

Travel from other major markets also remained low throughout October.

Ontario (-267,000), British Columbia (-118,700) and Quebec (-110,900) recorded the largest absolute year-over-year declines in the number of overseas travellers in October.

Fewer arrivals from the United States

In October, US residents took 112,500 trips to Canada, down 93.9% from the same month a year earlier. On a monthly basis, slightly fewer US travellers arrived to Canada (-0.4%) in October compared with September.

The number of US residents arriving by plane declined 97.1% year over year to 13,000 in October.

Car arrivals dropped 92.0% year over year to 98,300 in October. Almost three-quarters (72,900) of these car trips involved a same-day return, while overnight car arrivals (25,400) were down 95.5% from last October.

While every province recorded fewer arrivals from the United States in October, Ontario (-964,000) recorded the largest absolute decline, followed by British Columbia (-339,300) and Quebec (-207,800).

Fewer Canadians returning from the United States

Canadian residents made 269,000 return trips from the United States in October, down 92.3% from October 2019. On a monthly basis, however, more Canadians returned home from the United States (+7.4%) in October compared with September.

Car arrivals, which accounted for approximately 8 in 10 trips from the United States in October, fell 91.3% year over year to 225,000. Of these, 196,900 were same-day trips, down 89.0%.

Meanwhile, air arrivals declined 94.8% year over year to 42,200 as provincial measures, including health screenings and quarantine, remained in effect. However, this was up from September, when 32,300 Canadians returned from the United States by plane.

Nova Scotia (-99.8%), Yukon (-95.9%) and British Columbia (-97.1%) reported the largest relative year-over-year declines in return trips by Canadians from the United States.

Fewer Canadians returning from overseas

In October, 72,300 Canadian residents returned home from travel overseas, down 2.9% from September 2020 and 90.9% from October 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 January to September 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 October 2020 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 36, no. 10 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

Contact information

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