Almost everyone over the age of five coming into Canada now requires to show they do not have COVID-19 by presenting the results of one of two approved tests.
Air travelers who won’t produce a negative COVID-19 test result will not be allowed to board flights to Canada.
“The dreaded COVID-19 pandemic is far from over,” said Minister for Transport Marc Garneau, in a media briefing. “We need to continue to be careful and vigilant, and we need to continue to take drastic action to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus by air travel.
“This new interim order will help protect air travelers and Canadians. We have to continue to assess public health risks, as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Canada,” he said.
Under a new interim order sent out under the Quarantine Act by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, travelers must prove to start January 7th that they have had a negative COVID-19 test result before taking their flight to Canada.
“Pre-departure testing provides an additional layer of protection to Canadians, in addition to existing measures such as mandatory fourteen (14) day quarantine,” said Hajdu.
“However, we still urge Canadians to avoid non-essential travels outside of Canada. It is very important that Canadians understands that they risk being exposed to the virus during travels outside the country and, in turn, may expose other vulnerable Canadians, including those most at risk of serious illness.”
Two types of COVID-19 tests are being accepted in Canada:
- the molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or;
- the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test.
These must have been done within Seventy-two (72) hours of the traveler’s scheduled departure to Canada.
After arrival in Canada, border officers will question and observe the new arrivals for any indication that they may be ill.
Anyone considered to be showing symptoms of coronavirus will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) officials for further screening, assessment, and questioning. Border officials will also examine the new arrivals’ quarantine plan.
Public health officials will also be working closely with the Police and provincial law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance.
‘Air Travelers Must Still Quarantine’
“These new measures do not in any way replace the previous COVID-19 measures we have instituted to protect Canadians,” said Public Safety Minister says.
“All travelers must still quarantine for fourteen (14) days after they arrive unless explicitly exempt. We continue to strongly urge against unnecessary travel, and if anyone does not follow the quarantine rules, they could face severe penalties.”
There are a few temporary exceptions to the requirements as Canada tries to be flexible to allow time for the testing system to adjust.
Travelers from Saint Pierre et Miquelon do not have to show this COVID-19 testing proof until January. 14, and those from Haiti get until January. 21. Anyone from South America or Caribbeans can use tests conducted within Ninety-six (96) hours of departure, instead of Seventy-two (72), until January. 14.
“The decision to start the pre-boarding negative testing measures wasn’t made lightly. While we recognize its potentials to cause inconvenience to Canadians abroad traveling back to Canada, we are doing what is necessary to help protect the health of Canadian people,” said International Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
In addition to completing their full quarantine period, returning travelers must monitor for signs and symptoms of coronavirus and submit that information through ArriveCAN. If symptoms develop or a positive test for COVID-19 is received once in Canada, travelers should inform local public health authorities.
All Canadian border restrictions faced by foreign nationals before this interim order are still in place.