Get ready, travellers! Travel restrictions in Canada are set to tighten again as the federal government has confirmed mandatory random COVID-19 testing is returning.
In A declaration on July 14, Health Canada announced that mandatory random testing will resume on Tuesday, July 19 for travelers deemed fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This means that at Canada’s four major airports – Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto – fully vaxxed travelers may be required to leave the airport to be tested for COVID-19.
Federal authorities say the tests will be done during an in-person appointment at a testing location (such as a pharmacy) or through a virtual appointment.
According to Health Canada, moving the testing process outside of airports “will support testing for travellers” without creating additional chaos at Canada’s major airports.
In accordance with the restrictions, fully vaxxed travelers entering Canada (including Canadians) may be randomly selected for mandatory arrival testing.
Although they may now be required to leave the airport to be tested, fully vaccinated people are allowed to travel to their final destination, including on connecting flights, without waiting for test results.
Those not considered fully vaccinated – anyone who has not been vaccinated with a primary series of a The COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada – must continue testing as needed on arrival, day one and day eight of their two-week quarantine.
A federal government advisory explains: “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 email will contain information to help them arrange their test with a test provider in their area.”
Those who are not vaccinated will need to take their tests via virtual appointment or at a location able to work alongside their quarantine requirements.
Any traveler who tests positive, regardless of their vaccination status, must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test result.
If selected, passengers have a legal obligation to take the test within the required time frame.
“If you don’t comply, you may not be exempt from quarantine. You may also be required to visit a quarantine facility, face fines or other enforcement action,” the Government of Canada states. website.
On June 11, the federal government suspended mandatory random testing for air passengers as part of a broader strategy to reduce pressure on major airports.
The process was not abandoned at land border crossings, meaning random testing remained in place at the Canada-US border. If selected, passengers crossing overland are issued a self-swab kit to complete.
The government argues that random testing at the border is needed to help detect new variants of COVID-19.
Before you go, check out our responsible travel guide to be informed, be safe, be smart, and above all, be respectful on your adventure.