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Newfoundland and Labrador introduces travel ban

*Last updated: May 6, 2020 (Originally published May 4, 2020)

Kathleen Leighton

On March 18, 2020, Newfoundland and Labrador declared a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a declaration of public health emergency is in effect, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (“CMOH”) may introduce certain special measures to protect the health of the population and prevent, remedy, or mitigate the effects of the public health emergency.

The CMOH signed Special Measures Order (Amendment No. 11), made pursuant to section 28 of the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act, on April 30, 2020 (the “Order”). The Order prohibits individuals from entering Newfoundland and Labrador, with a few exceptions, effective as of Monday, May 4, 2020.

The relevant exemptions include residents (meaning individuals who are lawfully entitled to be or remain in Canada, who make their home in the province, and who are ordinarily present in the province – not including tourists and visitors); individuals who have been permitted entry to the province “in extenuating circumstances” (approval in advance from the CMOH is required); and certain asymptomatic workers and individuals who are subject to the Updated Exemption Order effective April 22, 2020.

Some of the asymptomatic workers subject to this Updated Exemption Order include, but are not limited to:

  • certain workers in the trade, transportation, mining, agriculture, hydro-electric and oil and gas sectors, including certain truck drivers and crew;
  • certain workers essential to the critical maintenance of the province’s infrastructure in the trade, transportation, health care, agriculture, fishing and aquaculture, hydro-electric, mining and oil and gas sectors; and
  • certain health care workers essential to the provision of critical health care in the province.

UPDATE: Additionally, the CMOH signed a Special Measures Order (Travel Exemption Order) on May 5, 2020 (the “Travel Exemption Order”) that is in effect for the duration of the above mentioned Special Measures Order (Amendment No. 11). This Travel Exemption Order makes various exemptions to the prohibition of entering the province, including for individuals who:

  • are visiting a family member who is critically or terminally ill, or to care for a family member who is elderly or who has a disability;
  • have a significant injury, condition or illness and require support of family members resident in the province;
  • are permanently relocating to the province;
  • are recently unemployed and will be living with family members in the province;
  • will fulfill a short term work contract, education internship or placement;
  • are returning to the province after completion of a school term out of province; and
  • are complying with custody, access, or adoption orders or agreements (including a child/children arriving in the province and individuals accompanying the child/children).

These individuals benefit from an exemption from the prohibition on entering Newfoundland and Labrador provided they make a formal request to the CMOH.

These orders will be reviewed no less than once every 5 days while in effect, and failure to comply is an offence for which a person may be liable on summary conviction in accordance with section 56 of the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act.

This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above, or any questions pertaining to temporary foreign workers and the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact a member of our Immigration Group.

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