Canada | Immigration | Pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements came into effect from January 7, 2021

On January 06, 2021, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, released an Interim Order formalizing new COVID-19 testing requirements for all air travelers arriving in Canada. This interim order provides further guidance on the new pre-departure testing provision introduced on December 31 to airline operators and the traveling public. COVID-19 health criteria rendered under the Quarantine Act by Canada’s Minister of Health are supported by this Interim Order.

Effective at midnight on January 7, 2021, irrespective of citizenship, all travelers aged five years or older must provide the airline with evidence of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). The test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure of the traveler to Canada.

At the time of boarding, all travelers coming to Canada must present this information. Failure to do so will mean that the airline running the flight to Canada automatically denies boarding.

Minister of Transport said that they must continue to be cautious and to take steps to reduce the risks of spreading the virus by air travel. It would help protect Canadians and air travelers through this new interim order.

In addition to existing steps, such as the mandatory 14-day quarantine, pre-departure testing adds an additional layer of security to Canada’s existing multilayered strategy said Minister of Health, The Honourable Patty Hajdu. However, the government discourages Canadians’ non-essential travel outside the country, he added.

The officials to follow the procedures strictly upon arrivals

Canada Border Services officers will enquire and observe them when travelers arrive in Canada, for any signs of sickness. Officers will strictly check the quarantine plans of travelers while making sure they are admissible to Canada. To check the compliance of travelers, PHAC works closely with provincial law enforcement agencies and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It is strongly recommended for travelers with scheduled flights to Canada to take note of this information in order to comply with the criteria and to avoid being denied boarding by the airline.

The travelers have to enter Canada only when they receive negative test results. They must still complete the full and compulsory 14-day quarantine unless exempted under the Quarantine Act.

Returning travelers must check for the symptoms in addition to complete their quarantine period. The travelers must submit this information in the ArriveCAN app electronically. When travelers are in Canada, they have to contact local public health authorities in case of any emergency. They must consult local health authorities if they develop symptoms irrespective of the severity or they test positive for COVID-19.

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