In an effort to slowdown the spread of a newly detected and fast-spreading COVID-19 variant, Canada will require negative COVID-19 test result from all arriving passengers in the country.
The COVID-19 test must be taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in the country and the test must be a PCR Test. This new rule is expected to come into effect in the next few days.
Note: This new travel rule will not replace the 14-day quarantine period.
Bill Blair, Public Safety Minister, said that the presence of Canada Border Service Agency agents will also be increased at border crossings and airports to ensure Canadians understand the newly tightened rules
“We strongly advise against travel unless absolutely necessary”, said Blair in a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“If you must travel, understand that upon your return, you must follow guidelines and quarantine for 14 days. It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. And if you don’t, it can result in serious consequences.”, he added.
The minister also added that violation of quarantine laws can result in up to six months in jail or up to CAD $750,000 in fines.
“But more importantly, you will put your family, your friends and your community at risk,” he continued. “We know that some Canadians have travelled out of the country for non-essential purposes, despite the clear public health guidance asking them not to do so. These Canadians, of course, have a right to return home. But when they come back they have a responsibility, both legal and moral, to quarantine.”
To ensure compliance, Blair said there will be an increase in followups — whether that be phone calls or home visits.
As winter season is a busy travel season for Canadians, Blair said that the government expects more people will travel for non-essential reasons, despite the warnings. He added that it will be up to the airline to make sure passengers present the negative COVID-19 test result before they board the plane.
Neighbouring country, United States will require a negative COVID-19 test result from all passengers arriving from the United Kingdom.