Mandatory random COVID testing for all air travellers is resuming in Canada. Find out what that means for you and the actions you'll need to take in different scenarios.
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As of July 19, 2022, Canada's government resumed mandatory random testing for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, flying into Canada's four major airports in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, anyone traveling must have been vaccinated with a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel at least 14 calendar days before crossing Canadian borders.
Whether you're fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, you could be tested:
- Outside of an airport, either during an in-person appointment or at select testing provider locations and pharmacies
- During a virtual appointment for a self-swab test
Unless you are exempt, if you do not qualify as fully vaccinated you must continue to test on Day 1 and Day 8 of your mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Moving testing outside airports will allow the government to still test travellers coming to Canada by airplane while monitoring and quickly responding to new variants of concern or changes to epidemiological circumstances. Mandatory random testing will also continue at points of entry on land, with no changes.
Mandatory random testing for those entering the country by air had been paused on June 11, 2022 as part of a strategy to shift testing for air travellers outside of airports.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has set up entry restrictions, testing and quarantine to manage risks at the border.
The Government says testing will remain an important part of the surveillance program to track how the COVID-19 virus is coming into Canada, identify new variants of concern and slow the spread of the virus. The government has used data from its testing program to gain insight into the current level and trends of importation of COVID-19 into the country. The data have also continued to inform the government's decisions around easing of border measures.
If you do qualify as fully vaccinated and are chosen for mandatory random testing, you'll receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing a customs declaration (air travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated could also receive an email).
The email will specify how you can arrange a test with a testing provider in the region. Those who are unvaccinated can complete their tests by virtual or in-person appointment with the test provider at their store or at certain pharmacies, while still respecting quarantine requirements.
All vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected for border testing surveillance must complete mandatory testing requirements on arrival.
If your arrival test is positive, you must go into isolation and follow the federal requirement to isolate for 10 days from the test result date.
Continue to Use ArriveCAN
Every traveller must continue to use ArriveCAN (website or free mobile app) to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours before arriving in Canada and/or before boarding a cruise ship coming to Canada, with few exceptions.
If you're a frequent traveller, you may want to use the "saved traveller" feature in ArriveCAN to save travel documents and proof of vaccination to reuse on future trips. This information will be pre-populated in ArriveCAN the next time you complete a submission, making it faster and more convenient to do.
The app is currently the fastest, most secure way for travellers to communicate that they meet public health requirements. More efforts are being undertaken to enhance compliance with ArriveCAN, which is currently 95 percent for travellers coming to Canada by land and air combined. You are required to isolate for 10 days even if the isolation requirement is shorter in your province or territory.
The government continues to couple mandatory random testing and data from the ArriveCAN app to inform public health advice and protect Canadians' health and safety.
Get a COVID-19 Test Before You Go on Vacation
Preparing for vacation? You might consider COVID testing before your departure to help protect yours and others health and safety, and bring yourself more peace of mind while you're travelling.
At COVID Travel Test, we offer take-home testing kits for supervised at-home use, Rapid Antigen Tests for domestic and return travel, Expedited RT-PCR Tests for international travel as required (which will get you same-day results) and Regular RT-PCR Tests for international travel as required, for which you'll get results in 24 to 30 hours.