Coronavirus: Do I need to self-isolate when my flight attendant wife returns from abroad?


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Chris asked: “My wife is a flight attendant with Air Canada. If she goes on an overseas flight for work, are my kids and I required to self-isolate upon her return?”


The vast majority of people entering Canada from abroad are required to self isolate for 14 days, but flight attendants are exempt.

Attendants, along with pilots, air traffic controllers, flight service specialists and aircraft maintenance engineers, have been deemed “essential to the safety and continuity of civil aviation in Canada,” according to a March 30 letter from Transport Canada’s director of civil aviation, Nicholas Robinson.

But even if the flight attendant did have to self-isolate, her family wouldn’t have to. The rules only apply to people who have been travelling – as long as everyone is asymptomatic.

If the flight attendant or their family begin to develop COVID-19 symptoms – such as fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing – they should stop working and self isolate for 14 days. And their family should avoid contact and self monitor for symptoms during that time.

The union representing Air Canada flight attendants has pushed for more protections for its members.

“We believe that anyone who has been notified by a public health agency or the company of potential exposure to an infected passenger should be provided pay protection and allowed to self-isolate for the 14 days following the exposure event, even if this is not required by the public health authority,” CUPE said in a March statement.

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