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Travel between Canada and other countries, September 2021

Released: 2021-11-22


The number of international arrivals to Canada continued to increase in September, but still remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

While travellers from overseas countries made 153,400 trips to Canada in September, more than four times greater compared with September 2020, they were less than one-fifth (18.1%) of the pre-pandemic level from September 2019.

In September 2021, there were 518,200 American residents travelling to Canada, over four times more than in September 2020, yet this was 22.6% of the number from the same month in 2019.

Canadians made a total of 788,300 return trips home from abroad in September, more than double the number in September 2020, but just a portion (17.5%) of trips made in September 2019.

Canada continues to ease restrictions

As most provinces continued to ease restrictions, the federal government opened Canada's borders to all fully vaccinated international travellers. Canada began allowing entry to fully vaccinated foreign nationals for discretionary travel on September 7, 2021.

Overseas arrivals up in September

With testing and quarantine no longer required for fully vaccinated international travellers, 153,400 overseas residents arrived in Canada in September 2021. This was an unseasonable increase of 68.0% from August 2021, and the highest number since the pandemic began in March 2020. While over four times the number from last September, it is well below the 849,100 overseas residents who flew into Canada during the same month in 2019.

The number of travellers originating from Europe jumped from 9,700 last year to 84,700 in September 2021. It was, however, significantly down from the 393,800 arrivals in September 2019. While arrivals from Asia were up year over year, from 18,100 to 41,600 in September 2021, this was still 84.9% below the pre-pandemic level of September 2019. Travellers from other major markets also remained low throughout September.

More Americans continue crossing into Canada

In September, US residents took 518,200 trips to Canada, up from 113,000 in September 2020. However, this represents less than one-quarter (22.6%) of the 2.3 million such trips made in September 2019.

There were 393,300 American residents who arrived by car in September, with more than one-third (34.0%) making a same-day return (133,700). While up from 99,000 in September 2020, American arrivals by car in September 2021 were just over one-quarter (28.0%) of the 1.4 million arrivals in September 2019.

US visits by Canadians almost double

The number of Canadian residents returning from the United States in September 2021 was 474,700, almost double the number (250,400) from September 2020, but far below the 3.6 million Canadians who returned the same month in 2019.

Car arrivals by Canadians rose by over 75,000 year over year to 292,900, of which 226,900 were same-day. However, this was just over 10.6% of the 2.8 million return trips by car that Canadian residents took in September 2019.

Finally, the number of Canadians flying back from the United States rose from 32,300 last September to 175,700 in September 2021. However, this was 75.2% below the number during the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

More Canadians flying home from overseas

In September, 313,600 Canadian residents returned home from travelling overseas, more than four times the number in September 2020 (74,400), but 64.3% lower compared with the pre-pandemic level in 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.

Since April 2020, releases have been based on unadjusted data (not seasonally adjusted) to emphasize the change in actual volumes.

Seasonally adjusted data from June to August 2021 have been revised.

Overseas countries refer to countries other than the United States.

A Canadian resident traveller is a Canadian resident who 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 travelled 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 2021 issue of International Travel: Advance Information, Vol. 43, no. 9 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

Contact information

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