COVID Test Required Before Travel to Canada
Effective January 7, 2021, passengers (five years of age and older) are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel, by air, to Canada. The new requirement applies to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals.
Air travellers must take a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (‘PCR’) test from an accredited lab within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. Passengers will not be allowed to board without a timely negative result. There appear to be few exceptions to the COVID test requirement. Although I note one, for an "emergency service provider", who is defined as someone providing services "aimed at preserving life and property" in times of emergency. It is not clear how challenging it will be for travellers to satisfy airline personnel that they fall under this exemption.
The negative COVID-19 test result requirement is in addition to the requirement that all air travellers use the ArriveCAN App before they board a flight to Canada. Please see my Memo of November 10, 2020 for more information. Moreover, almost all travellers are also required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.
Finally, there is a pilot program involving rapid testing of international arrivals at Calgary International Airport and I expect that international travellers may soon be subject to such testing upon arrival at Toronto’s Pearson International and possibly other Canadian airports.
This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.