Public Health Agency of Canada has introduced new travel restrictions on February 12, 2021. Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone returning to the country. With new COVID-19 variant detections increasing in the country, the Government of Canada has announced further testing and quarantine requirements for international travellers arriving to Canada’s air and land ports of entry. These new measures will help prevent variants of concern from reaccelerating the pandemic and making it more difficult to contain.
For travellers arriving to Canada by land, as of February 15, 2021, all travellers, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.
All travellers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. With limited exceptions, air travellers, will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travellers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021. These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.
Finally, at the same time on February 22, 2021, all travellers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight. Travellers who do not present a valid COVID-19 molecular test, will be allowed entry, but may be subject to a fine of up to $3,000 per day or face criminal prosecution. Travellers may also be required to go to a designated quarantine facility if they are symptomatic on arrival at the border, or do not have a suitable quarantine plan. Those who have obtained an exemption to enter Canada, will be refused entry, with limited exceptions, if they do not have a valid COVID-19 molecular test result. In addition, violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel, including vacation plans, outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada. Now is not the time to travel.