On-arrival testing for international travellers

The Government of Canada announced new rules on international travel, in addition to the multi-layered approach on COVID-19 already in place.  The government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021. This will be in effect as of January 31, 2021.

Further, effective midnight (11:59 PM EST) February 3, 2021, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure test, Transport Canada will expand the existing international flight restrictions which funnel scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

The new restrictions will include scheduled commercial passenger flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which were exempted from the previous restriction. Private/Business and charter flights from all countries will also be required to land at the four airports. Flights from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and cargo-only flights will remain exempt.

As soon as possible in the coming weeks, all air travellers arriving in Canada, with very limited exceptions, must reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three nights at their own cost, and take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival at their own cost. More details will be available in the coming days.

“We welcome the new measures announced by the federal government today, but we need a stop gap to prevent new cases, including variant cases, from arriving in Ontario until those measures are fully in place,” Premier Doug Ford said. “That’s why our government is taking immediate and decisive action, which includes mandatory testing of incoming international travellers and providing additional layers of protection for the people of Ontario, especially our seniors. Through our six-point plan, we intend to stop this virus in its tracks.”

The Government of Canada will introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) for travellers seeking entry in land mode, with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers. In addition, we continue to collaborate with partners in the United States to strengthen our border measures and keep our countries safe.

“No one should be travelling right now,” Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. “Each of us has a part in keeping our communities safe, and that means avoiding non-essential travel, which can put you, your loved ones, and your community at risk. The new measures announced today will be an important tool for protecting our communities, and increasing our compliance and enforcement capacity will help us keep all Canadians safe from COVID-19.”

To ensure travellers’ awareness and compliance with quarantine requirements, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with security companies to help complete compliance checks for travellers arriving in Canada. Employees of these companies were trained by PHAC and authorized as Screening Officers under the Quarantine Act. These Screening Officers will visit travellers’ quarantine locations to establish contact, confirm identity and confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada. These new officers will conduct visits in 35 cities across the country, starting in Montréal and Toronto.

 

 

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