In September, international arrivals to Canada—non-resident visitors and returning Canadians—more than tripled those arriving in September 2021, approaching but not yet reaching levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared with September 2021, there were three times (729,100) as many non-resident visitors arriving from abroad at Canadian airports equipped with electronic kiosks.
US residents took 824,400 trips to Canada through land ports with electronic sensors in September, over 470,000 more than in September 2021.
At the same time, the 1.1 million Canadian residents returning by air from visiting abroad via kiosk-equipped airports was almost three times greater than in September 2021.
Compared with September 2021, nearly 1.2 million more Canadian residents—for a total of over 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 September 2022. Complete counts will be available with the release of “Travel between Canada and other countries,” for the September reference month, on November 23, 2022.
Although air travel is approaching its 2019 pre-pandemic level, employment in the industry has continued to lag, leading to flight cancellations, long security queues, and lost luggage, impacting the largest airports the most. The current labour shortage is being felt across different airport-related occupations, including flight attendants, security screeners, and baggage handlers.
On September 26, 2022, the Government of Canada announced that as of October 1, all COVID-19 border requirements, including vaccination, mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, and any testing and quarantine requirements will end for all travellers entering Canada whether by land, air, or sea.
Arrivals of non-resident visitors from overseas countries (362,100) and the United States (367,000) at Canadian airports equipped with primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) totalled 729,100 in September, almost three times the 243,500 such arrivals observed in September 2021.
With another monthly year-over-year increase, the number of non-resident arrivals by air continues to approach that observed during the same month in 2019, before the pandemic. However, the total for September 2022 includes arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1, which make up a sizeable portion of the total arrivals. The PIK system was implemented at Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 in June 2021 (see Note to readers).
In September, US residents took over 824,400 trips to visit Canada crossing by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) application. This was more than double the trips taken in September 2021 and represents two-thirds (66.6%) of the 1.2 million US-resident arrivals by automobile during the same month in 2019.
In September, the number of Canadian residents returning by air from abroad and landing at airports equipped with PIKs was 1.1 million, up by almost 700,000 from September 2021 (430,900).
While the total arrivals appear to exceed the pre-pandemic levels observed in September 2019, note again that the September 2022 count includes international arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 (see Note to readers).
Excluding Toronto Pearson Terminal 1, in September, as a whole, Canadian airports have recovered 85% of their 2019 pre-pandemic volume of Canadians returning from abroad.
In September, 1.4 million Canadian residents returned from visiting the United States, crossing by automobile via IPIL-equipped land ports. Although this is an increase of nearly 1.2 million trips from September 2021 (259,400), it remains less than two-thirds (62.6%) of the 2.3 million trips recorded for the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.
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 for September 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.
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