The Government of Canada reminds travellers returning to Canada of COVID-19 border measures
March 30, 2021
Canada Border Services Agency/Public Health Agency of Canada
The Government of Canada has put in place emergency border measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants into Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are reminding travellers and returning Canadian residents about what to expect at the border.
Travellers should be aware of the following mandatory requirements to help with smooth processing at the Canadian border. Planning ahead can help travellers avoid potential complications, delays at the border, and fines. A number of Canadians may have already received a COVID-19 vaccination. At this time, having a vaccination does not exempt anyone from having to comply with current testing, quarantine, and other requirements.
Use ArriveCAN to provide COVID-19-related information. Before boarding a flight to Canada or arriving at a land border crossing, travellers must electronically submit the following information using the ArriveCAN mobile app or by signing in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN.
- travel and contact information;
- quarantine plan (unless exempt); and,
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
Travellers flying to Canada must also submit their reference code for a confirmed three-night reservation at a government-authorized hotel.
Get tested before travelling to Canada. Unless exempt, all travellers five years of age or older entering Canada by air or land need to show proof of a:
- negative COVID-19 molecular test (not an antigen test) result taken within 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border crossing; or
- positive COVID-19 molecular test taken between 14 and 90 days before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border crossing.
Airlines may refuse boarding to travellers that are unable to provide a valid molecular test result. Antigen tests are not accepted. For travellers arriving at a land border crossing, their COVID-19 molecular test must have been performed in the U.S.
Get tested when arriving in Canada.
- If flying, travellers will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival to Canada, before leaving the airport. They will also be provided with a COVID-19 specimen collection kit to use for their test on day 10 of their mandatory quarantine. Travellers are encouraged to register for their arrival test in advance to save time at the airport. They must also register their Day 10 kit on their first day in Canada.
- If driving, travellers will be provided two COVID-19 specimen collection kits upon entry to Canada: one to use on the day they arrive in Canada, and another to use on day 10 of their mandatory quarantine. Some land border crossings offer on-site services to help guide travellers through the specimen collection process. Travellers should create an account for their test kits through the Switch Health portal before arriving at a land border crossing. This will help save time as they move through the specimen collection process on-arrival.
Complete their day 10 test and quarantine.
- Travellers flying into Canada must proceed to their pre-booked hotel to await results of their arrival test. If negative, they can go directly to their place of quarantine to complete the rest of their 14-day quarantine. If positive, they will be relocated to a designated quarantine facility or other suitable place of isolation.
- Travellers driving into Canada must go directly to their place of quarantine to complete their 14-day quarantine.
- All travellers will be required to contact Switch Health to schedule a telehealth appointment for their day 10 test. A health care professional will guide travellers through the specimen collection process, which includes taking a nasal swab, packaging it for testing, and arranging for it to be picked up and couriered to a laboratory.
- If a traveller receives a negative test result, they may only leave their place of quarantine once they have completed their full 14-day quarantine period. If a traveller receives a positive test result, they must quarantine for an additional 14-day period from the day the sample was collected.
On the day after entering Canada, all travellers must use ArriveCAN or call the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number to confirm that they have arrived at a government-authorized hotel or the address they provided for their place of quarantine or isolation. Travellers must also complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their 14-day quarantine period.
Note that the province or territory of the traveller’s final destination may have additional restrictions.
Due to enhanced screening measures at the border, travellers may experience longer delays.
As of February 12, 2021, if you drive back to Canada with your US-plated vehicle, you have 30 days to either export it or permanently import it.
All Customs Act rules still apply. Returning Canadian residents must declare all goods they acquired while outside Canada, including purchases and gifts that they have with them or that are being shipped to them. They must also declare any restricted or prohibited goods in their possession (including food, plant, and animal products) and repairs or alterations they made to their vehicle while out of the country. Please have receipts ready.
Travellers are informed upon entry of the compliance monitoring and verification activities, which include emails, calls from an agent, interactive automated calls, as well as in-person visits to verify compliance with the federal emergency order. Travellers are also informed upon entry of the possible consequences of non-compliance, and the enforcement actions and penalties they could face.
The Contraventions Act provides police (including Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP], provincial and local police), PHAC Quarantine Officers and Screening Officers, and other enforcement officers with additional tools to enforce the Quarantine Act. The fines associated with contravention tickets range from $825-$3,000 for each instance of non-compliance.
- For example:
- Travellers who refuse to take a COVID-19 molecular test at the airport upon arrival could receive a fine of $3,000.
- An individual who leaves their place of quarantine prior to the end of the 14th day of quarantine could be fined $3,000 for each day that they are found to be in non-compliance.
- For example:
Individuals who contravene the mandatory isolation or mandatory quarantine requirements, including the instructions of a Quarantine Officer, may be subject to a range of enforcement measures under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
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