The Canadian federal government has made a series of announcements regarding travel, quarantine, and testing requirements for travelers arriving by air and by land. These new measures form part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of new, more contagious COVID-19 variants feared to be introduced by travelers from overseas. As of the date of this writing, the requirements are as follows. Changes are being announced on a regular and frequent basis without advance notice, so please check for the latest requirements before booking or commencing travel.
Pre-Travel Testing. Prior to travel to Canada, whether by air or land, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours prior to travel. Essential workers traveling by land will be exempt from this requirement.
- Arrivals by Air. Upon arrival by air in Canada, travelers must take another COVID test at the airport before proceeding to a government-designated hotel to quarantine, to await test results (effective Monday, February 22, 2021). The government-designated hotels are in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, or Vancouver, the only four locations where all international passenger flights are being directed. Exceptions to the hotel quarantine requirement are expected to be made for essential workers (more guidance on this expected) and for compelling cases as determined by the border officer’s discretion. Travelers must reserve and pay for a three (3)-day stay at the hotel in advance of travel and will be required to present proof of the hotel booking before boarding their flight. Reservations may be made using an online tool which will become available on February 18, 2021.
- If the test is negative, they may travel onwards to their destination, where they must remain in quarantine for the remainder of the 14-day period. At the end of this quarantine period, they must take another COVID test. Travelers with connecting flights must also test negative before they are allowed to board their next flight.
- If the test is positive, they must move to a government-designated quarantine facility, where they must remain in quarantine for the remainder of the 14-day period.
- Arrivals by Land. Upon arrival by land in Canada, travelers must take another COVID test at the port-of-entry and again 14 days later. Exemptions are likely to be made, similar to the pre-travel testing exemption for essential workers.
- Generally, no exemptions. Other than existing exemptions for essential workers, additional exemptions are not expected to be made for Canadians or for those who have received the virus vaccine.
- Contact Details. Travelers arriving in Canada by air or by land will be required to provide their personal contact and travel information, as well as quarantine plans, prior to boarding their flight or crossing the border, by using the ArriveCAN App.