The Government of Canada resumed its mandatory random COVID-19 testing of fully vaccinated travelers entering the country by air last Tuesday, July 19.
Canada had paused mandatory random testing at airports on June 11. That pause was at least partly due to growing calls for the government to do something about the long delays at airports, according to CTV News.
“As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence,” Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.
“We need to keep border testing measures in place because that is how we track importation of the COVID-19 virus, and of new variants of concern. We will keep adapting our border measures to balance the need to protect Canadians while supporting our economic recovery.”
It’s important to note that mandatory random COVID-19 testing continues at land border points of entry into Canada and has not changed.
How Mandatory Random Testing Works
Mandatory random COVID-19 testing at airports resumed on July 19. It applies to air travelers who qualify as fully vaccinated and arrive in Canada at the major Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto.
Travelers on their way to Canada should remember two points. First, all travelers must continue to use the ArriveCAN portal to submit mandatory travel information within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada, and/or before boarding a cruise ship destined for Canada. Secondly, to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler to Canada, travelers must have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before entering Canada.
“Air travelers who qualify as fully vaccinated and who are selected for mandatory random testing, as well as air travelers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration,” the Public Health Agency of Canada explains. “The email will contain information to help them arrange for their test with a testing provider in their region.”
Air travelers who are selected for mandatory random testing or who are required to take a test on arrival are requested to be tested by the end of the next calendar day.
Minimizing Airport Congestion
The good news is that all testing for air travelers, both those who qualify as fully vaccinated and those who are partially or unvaccinated, will be completed outside of airports. Instead, the testing will be conducted either by an in-person appointment at approved testing provider locations and pharmacies or by a virtual appointment for a self-swab test.
Unless they are exempt, travelers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to test on day 1 and day 8 of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
“Moving testing outside of airports will support testing for travelers arriving by air while still being able to monitor and quickly respond to new variants of concern, or changes to the epidemiological situation,” the Public Health Agency of Canada explains.
Finally, if an air traveler’s COVID-19 test result is positive, they must go into isolation and follow the federal requirement to isolate for 10 days from the date of the test result. That 10-day isolation is required, even if a province or territory dictates a shorter isolation requirement.
You can find all the details about traveling to Canada here.
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