As of 11:59pm EST, Jan.6, anyone on a flight coming into Canada will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result.
This new rule applies to all air travellers. Even if the country you are flying out of doesn’t have this requirement, all passengers, aged five years and older have to test negative to be allowed into Canada.
The exempt are air crew members, emergency service providers and anyone on a plane that is only landing in Canada to refuel.
How Will The Airport Enforce COVID-19 Tests
This will be the responsibility of the passenger and the airlines. All passengers will have to provide proof of a negative reading from a PCR test (see below). The PCR test has to be taken within 72 hours of the departure time.
The written or electronic proof of the negative result must be shown to the airline prior to boarding the flight to Canada.
If a passenger doesn’t provide this proof, they will not be allowed to board the flight.
What Is a PCR Test?
PCR tests, short for polymerase chain reaction tests, involve swabbing a person’s nose or throat to take a sample to test for COVID-19. This is the most common and fastest way to test for the virus.
The tests that will be accepted have come from laboratories that are government accredited. The labs should be members of a professional association and accredited by the International Organization for Standardization. The PCR test will be paid for by the passenger, but travel insurance plans should cover it.
If someone is not sure how to get a PCR test, they must contact the airline for suggestions on where to go. It’s also advised to be sure you are going to a country that provides this type of testing.
Yes, You Still Have to Quarantine.
Despite the new testing policy, the previous rules have not changed.
Travellers coming into Canada will still have to answer health screening questions, undergo temperature checks and wear masks as required…and yes quarantine. Even with proof of a negative test, you must quarantine for 14 days.
Anyone that violates the requirements will be charged. The maximum penalties can be up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $75,000.
Vaccinated? You Still Need to Test.
Even if you are vaccinated, you still have to provide your proof of a negative test before boarding a flight to Canada.
“While a vaccine protects an individual from illness, further evidence is required to understand if a vaccinated person can still (spread the) virus,” states the government.
Furthermore, the government is still advising against non-essential travel.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, approximately 6,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada have been due to international travel.
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