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Trudeau says Canadians need to make ’careful decisions about Christmas’

With omicron infections on the rise, Ottawa is considering further travel restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday Canadians need to be careful about their Christmas travel plans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday Canadians need to be careful about their Christmas travel plans.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Chad Hipolito


Speaking briefly to reporters before an announcement on travel restrictions expected later today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians need to be prudent when making plans for the holidays.

Canadians have been attentive [to COVID-19] for months and months. We've seen that people know how to do the right thing. They're going to have to be vigilant and make careful decisions about Christmas, Trudeau said in French before the start of a Liberal caucus meeting this morning.

With omicron variant case counts surging in some parts of the country, federal and provincial officials are considering a series of restrictions to keep the rate of new infections at a manageable level.

Among those restrictions are limits on foreign travel — one area where the federal government has clear jurisdiction.

Just how far Ottawa will go in trying to curb travel abroad — with only 10 days to go before Christmas — remains to be seen.

With tens of thousands of Canadians planning trips abroad over the coming weeks, any new restrictions could wreak havoc on vacation plans.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos — now implementing a mandatory arrival testing program at the country's airports (new window) for all travellers from non-U.S. foreign destinations — warned last week of headaches for returning passengers.

Canadians who are thinking of travelling abroad need to be warned that the situation abroad is both risky and unstable. They should also know that returning to Canada will likely involve delays and hassle, Duclos said Friday.

Multiple sources told CBC News and Radio-Canada that the government is expected to renew an advisory against non-essential international travel. The advisory had been in place for most of the pandemic but was quietly lifted in October. That decision is expected sometime today.

Sources say much stronger measures were discussed by the premiers and Prime Minister Trudeau during a Tuesday evening call. They talked about whether to implement a ban on all non-essential foreign travel to Canada — including trips from the United States — and stricter quarantine and testing measures for travellers who are allowed into Canada, including returning Canadians and permanent residents.

John Paul Tasker (new window) · CBC News