OHS Canada Magazine

Mandatory tests, hotel quarantines: How will this work?

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February 17, 2021
By The Canadian Press

Compliance & Enforcement Health & Safety Transportation Border Canada COVID-19 travel

OTTAWA — New quarantine and testing requirements for those coming to Canada are being rolled out in an effort to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Right now, all travellers, with some exceptions for essential workers, must isolate for 14 days upon arrival, no matter if they came into the country via land or air.

If they don’t, they can face fines or even prison time.

There are, however, different additional rules being put in place for air travellers and those arriving at the land border.

Some details are still being worked out, including who might be exempt from the requirements or from paying the associated costs. It’s also unknown how long the measures will be in place.


But here is what’s known for now:

Air travel

  • All incoming travellers must provide proof of negative COVID-19 PCR tests (the kind typically taken with a deep nasal swab) done within 72 hours of boarding their aircraft.
  • As of Feb. 22, upon arrival, each traveller will be required to take another test at the airport.
  • From there, they must go to government-approved hotels for up to 72 hours, at their own cost, to await the results. Hotels are to begin accepting reservations Feb. 18.
  • If that test is negative, a traveller can leave the hotel and continue on to finish quarantine at home or another approved location. They will have to take another test at the end of their time in quarantine and will be given that test to take with them.
  • If the arrival test comes back positive, the traveller will be transferred to government isolation facility.

Land border

  • As of Feb. 15, each traveller arriving at the land border, with exceptions for essential travellers, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the U.S. within 72 hours, or proof of a positive test result between 14 and 90 days before arrival — long enough ago for the illness to have passed, but not so long that immunity might have waned.
  • As of Feb. 22, travellers will also be required to take COVID-19 tests upon arrival. Certain border points will be able to test on-site; if that’s not an option, travellers will be given a kit to take home. They’ll have to do a followup test 10 days later.


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