Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada, November 2022
International arrivals to Canada—non-resident visitors and returning Canadians—more than doubled those arriving in November 2021 but have not yet reached levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 421,800 non-resident visitors that arrived from abroad at Canadian airports equipped with electronic sensors were nearly double those that arrived the same month in 2021.
In November 2022, US residents took 662,900 trips to Canada through land ports with electronic sensors, over 393,400 more than in November 2021.
At the same time, the number of Canadian residents that returned by air from visiting abroad via kiosk-equipped airports in November 2022 (1.3 million) was more than double that from the same month in 2021.
Compared with November 2021, 974,700 more Canadian residents—for a total of 1.4 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 November 2022. Complete counts will be available with the release of "Travel between Canada and other countries," for the November reference month, on January 23, 2023.
Airports bracing for holiday travels
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 usual seasonal decline in air travel during the fall, along with new hires—such as baggage handlers and security screeners—have helped to reduce flight cancellations and delays that some airports experienced during the busy summer months.
However, lingering staffing concerns and a potential sharp increase in holiday travellers along with potential winter weather delays could prove to be disruptive during the upcoming busy holiday season.
Non-resident arrivals by air
Arrivals of non-resident visitors from overseas countries (191,600) and the United States (230,200) at Canadian airports equipped with primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) totalled 421,800 in November, almost double the 219,600 arrivals in November 2021.
The number of non-resident arrivals by air appears to exceed that observed in November 2019, before the pandemic. However, the total for 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).
US-resident arrivals by land pause
In November, US residents took 662,900 trips to visit Canada, crossing by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) application. This was more than twice the number of trips taken in November 2021 and represents almost three-quarters (73.4%) of such arrivals by automobile during the same month in 2019.
However, this recovery rate in November 2022 was slightly lower than the 78.6% recorded in October of the same year.
Canadians returning by air
In November, the number of Canadian residents that returned by air from abroad and landed at airports equipped with PIKs was 1.3 million, more than double the number of arrivals in November 2021 (601,300).
While the total number of arrivals may appear to exceed the pre-pandemic levels from 2019, note again that the November 2022 count includes international arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 (see Note to readers).
Excluding Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1, in November, Canadian airports recovered 90.6% of their 2019 pre-pandemic volume of Canadians returning from abroad.
Canadians returning by land slowing
In November, 1.4 million Canadian residents returned from visiting the United States, crossing by automobile via IPIL-equipped land ports, an increase of 974,700 trips from November 2021 (401,100).
November 2022 recovered less than three-quarters (72.3%) of the 1.9 million trips recorded for the same month in 2019, before the pandemic, down from the more than three-quarters (76.2%) posted in October 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.
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 as of April 2022 exclude those crossing at these ports. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).