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Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada, October 2022

Released: 2022-11-14

Highlights

The number of international arrivals to Canada (non-resident visitors and returning Canadians) more than tripled compared with October 2021, approaching but not yet reaching levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 570,100 non-resident visitors that arrived from abroad in October at Canadian airports equipped with electronic sensors were more than double those that arrived the same month in 2021.

In October, US residents took 838,500 trips to Canada through land ports with electronic sensors, over a half a million more than in October 2021.

At the same time, the number of Canadian residents that returned by air from visiting abroad via kiosk-equipped airports (1.2 million) was two and a half times that from October 2021.

Compared with October 2021, over 1.3 million more Canadian residents—for a total of 1.6 million—returned from trips to the United States through land ports with electronic sensors.

This release provides a first glimpse of international arrivals to Canada in October 2022. Complete counts will be available with the release of "Travel between Canada and other countries," for the October reference month, on December 23, 2022.

COVID-19 border restrictions removed

On October 1, all COVID-19 border restrictions, including vaccination, mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, and any testing and quarantine requirements, were removed for all travellers entering Canada by land, air, or sea. The discontinuation of border restrictions may have contributed to the additional 242,500 Canadian residents that returned by air and automobile in October 2022, compared with September.

Non-resident arrivals by air

Arrivals of non-resident visitors from overseas countries (282,500) and the United States (287,600) at Canadian airports equipped with primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) totalled 570,100 in October, more than doubling those who arrived in October 2021 (263,400).

With another year-over-year increase, the number of non-resident arrivals by air continues to approach that observed in 2019, before the pandemic. However, the total for October 2022 includes arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1, which make up a sizeable portion of arrivals. The PIK system was implemented at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 in June 2021 (see Note to readers).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Non-resident visitors arriving in Canada by commercial aircraft, October, 2019 to 2022
Non-resident visitors arriving in Canada by commercial aircraft, October, 2019 to 2022

United States-resident arrivals by land

In October, US residents took 838,500 trips to visit Canada, crossing by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) application. This number was almost three times that observed in October 2021 and represents over three-quarters (78.6%) of the 1.1 million US-resident arrivals by automobile during the same month in 2019.

On a monthly basis, this recovery proportion was up from the two-thirds (66.6%) recorded in September.

Chart 2  Chart 2: United States-resident visitors arriving in Canada by automobile, October, 2019 to 2022
United States-resident visitors arriving in Canada by automobile, October, 2019 to 2022

Canadians returning by air

In October, the number of Canadian residents that returned by air from abroad and landed at airports equipped with PIKs was 1.2 million, up by more than 715,000 from October 2021 (479,900).

While the total arrivals may appear to exceed the pre-pandemic levels observed in October 2019, note again that the October 2022 count includes international arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 (see Note to readers).

Excluding Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1, in October, Canadian airports recovered 91.8% of their 2019 pre-pandemic volume of Canadians returning from abroad.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Canadian residents returning from visiting abroad by commercial aircraft, October, 2019 to 2022
Canadian residents returning from visiting abroad by commercial aircraft, October, 2019 to 2022

Canadians returning by land

In October, 1.6 million Canadian residents returned from visiting the United States, crossing by automobile via IPIL-equipped land ports. Although this is a jump of more than 1.3 million trips from October 2021 (262,200), it is just over three-quarters (76.2%) of the 2.1 million trips recorded for the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

Compared with September, 171,000 more Canadian residents returned from the United States in October, an unseasonable jump. In the two years before the pandemic, however, October experienced a 7% drop from September in the number of Canadians that drove back from the United States.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Canadian residents returning from visiting the United States by automobile, October, 2019 to 2022
Canadian residents returning from visiting the United States by automobile, October, 2019 to 2022

  Note to readers

Counts of visitors entering the country by commercial aircraft are from the primary inspection kiosk (PIK) system. In 2020, the subset of arrivals by air represented approximately 58% of all international arrivals. PIKs were deployed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 on June 22, 2021, and, as of July 2021, these arrivals are included in the total counts, which has consequently improved coverage.

The coverage statement will be amended when a complete year of international traffic is observed for all Canadian airports.

Revisions have been made to data for April 2022 to September 2022 in Table 24-10-0056-01.

Counts of visitors entering the country by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) system represent a subset of US visitors and Canadian returning visitors by automobile. In January 2021, the IPIL land ports captured approximately 82% of all automobile entries. However, vehicles crossing the border with NEXUS authorization continue to be excluded.

In April 2022, the following IPIL ports switched mode from land to water: Yarmouth, Walpole Island, Point Alexandria (Wolfe Island), Pelee Island, Prince Rupert, Sidney, and Victoria—other locations. Therefore, counts of visitors entering the country by land for October 2022 exclude those crossing at these ports. In pre-pandemic 2019, visitors at these ports accounted for a small fraction (0.7%) of all visitors entering or returning to Canada by automobile.

Elements of Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program were modified in January 2022. Although these changes will not have a significant impact on total estimates, readers are encouraged to review the concepts, definitions, data sources and methods for Frontier Counts, especially when making historical comparisons and examining specific regions.

Traveller: A person making an entry into Canada for any purpose and any duration.

Visitor: A traveller whose trip purpose is related to tourism, namely personal, business, study, to be a crew member in a private vehicle (private aircraft or private boat) or whose purpose is not known, and whose trip duration is less than one year.

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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