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Canada’s Travel Rules Have Changed — Here’s What You Need To Know

The changes officially go into effect today.

Associate Editor, MTL Blog
Welcome to Canada sign at Canadian border.

Welcome to Canada sign at Canadian border.

Attention all travellers! Entering Canada just got a little more difficult. As of Tuesday, July 19, the Government of Canada is re-establishing mandatory random COVID-19 testing for anyone entering the country, fully vaccinated or not.

Yes, not long after Transport Canada suspended random testing at Canadian airports last month, the feds are bringing it back. However, things are going to look a little different this time around.

In a recent news release, the government stated: "Mandatory random testing will resume as of July 19, 2022, for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto."

"To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, travellers must have been vaccinated with a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada."

While mandatory COVID-19 testing previously took place at the airport, testing will now take place outside airports.

The federal government stated that those who qualify as either fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will undergo a random COVID-19 test off-site at either an "in-person appointment at select testing provider locations and pharmacies, or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test."

How will you know if you're randomly selected and what method of testing will you have to complete?

The Government of Canada said that travellers entering the country by air will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration.

"The email will contain information to help them arrange for their test with a testing provider in their region."

Travellers entering Canada by air who are not considered fully vaccinated must continue to test on Day One and Day Eight of their compulsory 14-day quarantine.

"Moving testing outside of airports will support testing for travellers arriving by air while still being able to monitor and quickly respond to new variants of concern, or changes to the epidemiological situation," the feds mentioned in the news release.

As for travellers entering Canada by land, mandatory random testing will continue at land border points of entry.

MTL Blog spoke with the Public Health Agency of Canada's Senior Media Relations rep, Tammy Jarbeau with some questions regarding some uncertainties surrounding the feds' decision to re-establish random COVID-19 testing.

When asked how the federal government will verify whether or not those selected to undergo a COVID-19 test, Jarbeau stated. "The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) receives information from Canada Border Services Agency daily regarding travellers who have entered Canada, including whether these travellers were selected for mandatory random testing (MRT).

"On Day 4 after entry into Canada, all travellers selected for MRT receive a compliance promotion email reminding them of the importance of completing the test. On Day 5 post-entry, travellers selected for MRT who appear non-compliant with the testing requirement (e.g. PHAC does not have a record of a test being submitted to a test provider) receive a call to verify compliance."

Failure to comply can lead to penalties and fines, Jarbeau said. "Travellers may face penalties and fines of up to $5,000 (plus applicable surcharges) if they fail to meet all of the requirements."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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