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What You Need To Know About Canada’s New COVID-19 Test Requirements For International Travellers

The Canadian government has just announced that pre-departure COVID-19 testing and proof of negative ... [+] results now required for all air travellers coming to Canada as of January 7, 2021.

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The Canadian government has just announced that pre-departure COVID-19 testing and proof of negative results are now required for all air travellers coming into Canada as of January 7, 2021.  The news release states that "The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis that is having a significant impact on the air industry and all travellers. The Government of Canada has multiple measures in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and to help prevent air travel from being a source of further introduction and spread of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus into Canada.

Since March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has strongly advised against non-essential travel, and that travel restrictions and measures can be amended at any time as necessary for public health reasons." However, these measures have proven not as effective as the government would like so that is why the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, is requiring that, effective January 7, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. EST, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada.

It's believed that waiting until January 7 will provide all airlines, both foreign and domestic, adequate time to comply with the new requirements.

What You Need To Know About Canada’s New COVID-19 Test Requirements For International Travellers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L), Minister of National Denfence Harjit Sajjan (C) listen ... [+] as Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau addresses the media

AFP via Getty Images

"Our government remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. These new measures will provide another layer of protection for Canadians as we continue to assess public health risks and work to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada," said the Minister of Transport, The Honourable Marc Garneau. Minister of Health, The Honourable Patty Hajdu, said that "Since the emergence of COVID-19, we have had in place strong measures to prevent the importation of COVID-19 cases.

Starting on January 7, we will require travellers coming to Canada to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding their flight. The 14-day quarantine will also remain in place. We can all work together to save lives.

Stay in Canada and follow public health guidelines to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community."

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According to the press release: "Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller's scheduled departure to Canada."

What You Need To Know About Canada’s New COVID-19 Test Requirements For International Travellers

The Canadian government has just announced that pre-departure COVID-19 testing and proof of negative ... [+] results now required for all air travellers coming to Canada as of January 7, 2021.

Getty

Furthermore, even if someone receives a negative test result and is allowed to enter Canada, they are still required to complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine. The press release notes that: "The Government of Canada will be further increasing surveillance efforts to ensure travellers entering Canada complete the applicable mandatory 14-day quarantine period under the Quarantine Act. As has been the case for months, all travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if not suitable, will be required to quarantine in a federal quarantine facility.

Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN App or website and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry." Failing to fulfill the required quarantine will be seen as an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or £750,000 in fines. "As the global situation evolves, we continue to work with our partners to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 into Canada at all international ports of entry.

The new testing requirement is an additional layer of protection that helps make Canada's border measures among the strongest in the world. The testing regime is not a replacement for the legal requirement to quarantine, which remains our strongest defence against the spread of the virus," said the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, The Honourable Bill Blair. 

What You Need To Know About Canada’s New COVID-19 Test Requirements For International Travellers

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne (L) and Deputy Minister of Defence ... [+] Jody Thomas (R) listens as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau C) speaks during a news conference

AFP via Getty Images

"The COVID-19 situation continues to show its unpredictable and rapidly changing nature. We, therefore, need to implement additional quick and effective actions to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.

We still strongly advise against non-essential travel outside Canada as the likelihood of sudden restrictions and additional requirements during the pandemic may result in travellers facing difficult and stressful circumstances while abroad.

We all need to do our part so that we can get through this challenging time together," said Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne.

You can read more about the new regulation on the government's website.

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