The test will not replace the 14-day quarantine requirement.
Canada will require arriving travellers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test three days before arriving. The test must be a PCR test, which is currently considered the most effective coronavirus test. This policy will go into effect on January 7, 2021.
In addition, there will be more border officials at Canada’s ports of entry to ensure those arriving understand the new rules. This is according to public health minister Bill Blair, who also stated that this does not replace the 14-day quarantine requirement. The details are still being finalized and more information is expected to be available next week.
It is required by law that all those arriving in Canada must quarantine for 14 days. This means that they must stay indoors at all times and have a plan on how they will obtain groceries, food and medicine. Those who break quarantine rules may face up to six months in prison or up to CAD $750,000 in fines.
However, some travellers may be allowed to break quarantine if they obtain approval from the government prior to travelling to Canada. Usually, this is for compassionate reasons, such as attending a funeral, or spending time with a loved one during their last moments.
The new measure comes after Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé called on federal authorities to intensify COVID-19 screening of arriving travellers. The province had also previously closed non-essential stores.
It is also a response to the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country. There has been an increasing number of cases as winter crept in, with over 550,000 total cases as of December 29.
Canada has begun administering COVID-19 vaccines earlier this month, when Canada received its first batch of the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine has also started making its way into Canada.
So far, just over 70,000 Pfizer vaccinations have been administered across Canada, according to a vaccine tracker created by a University of Saskatchewan student, based on provincial updates.
Checklist for travellers to Canada