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Canada Announces 3 Tests and New Hotel Quarantine Rules

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New restrictions for incoming travelers to Canada including a new hotel quarantine and three Covid-19 tests will begin on February 22 announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday. 

“We’re not trying to punish people, we’re trying to keep people safe,” he said.

Here is everything travelers need to know about the rules that were announced on Friday and what to expect when arriving in Canada by both land and air. 

Woman at Canada airport

What is The New Land Border Testing Requirement?

Up until February 21, all travelers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.

*As of February 22, travelers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

This does not apply to truck drivers or health care workers. 

When Does The New Land Border Crossing Requirement Begin?

The new test requirement for crossing the U.S. / Canada land border will begin on February 15, 2021. 

The additional testing requirement at the land border begin on February 22.

Canada land border crossing

What Are The New Entry Requirements By Air For International Arrivals?

  1. All travelers must provide proof of a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours of the departing flight into Canada.
  2. Travelers can only arrive at the Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver airports.
  3. All travelers will be given a PCR test upon arrival at the airport. 
  4. All travelers must reserve, prior to arriving in Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travelers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021.
  5.  Travelers will be released on day 3 if there test is negative. If positive, they will be transferred to a government quarantine facility
  6. Travelers who are negative can proceed home to quarantine for the remaining duration of a 14 day quarantine.
  7. Travelers will be required to take another PCR test towards the end of the quarantine. 
Canada customs and border agency

When Do The New Air Travel Restrictions Begin?

The new rules that affect all international travelers arriving in Canada by air go into effect on February 22, 2021. 

How Much Does The Hotel Quarantine Cost?

The cost of the hotel quarantine will be the responsibility of the traveler and will cost up to $2000. Final prices will be released on February 18th, 2021 when bookings for hotels become available.

canada hotel quarantine

Where Are The Hotels Located?

All hotels will be located within the vicinity of the four approved airports.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu stated that “It is up to the traveler to choose where they wish to stay, and book in advance of departure.”

Hajdu reported that the cost of hotels will vary by location. 

“The price will include costs associated with the room, food, cleaning, infection prevention and control measures, and security as well as transportation.”


westjet plane landing in calgary

Do Canadians That Arrive By Land Need To Quarantine in a Hotel?

No the hotel quarantine only applies to passenger arriving from abroad by air. 

What Is The Difference Between Arriving By Air or Arriving By Land?

Land: Arriving by land as of February 15 will require one test prior to arrival and a 14 day home quarantine. 

*As of February 22, travelers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

Air: Arriving by air will require three Covid-19 tests, mandatory three day supervised hotel quarantine and 11 day home quarantine after being released from the hotel. 

canada border crossing

Can Canadians Coming Home Drive Across The Border?

Yes, Canadians are welcome to arrive home by land. Canadians crossing the land border are still required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours. As of February 22, travelers will be tested at the border and then again at the end of home quarantine. 

What Happens If I Arrive Without A Test?

Canadians will not be turned away at the border. Fines can be issued up to $3000 for not complying with health orders.

male traveler at the airport wearing a mask with his luggage

Are Vaccinated Individuals Exempt From Entry Requirements?

Travelers who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 will not be exempt and face the same entry requirements.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Tuesday 16th of February 2021

Not sure if anyone knows the answer to this, but what about those that do not live near any of the four major airports? (For example, Nova Scotia - needing to fly into Halifax). How will this work as they are unable to reach their final destination without taking another flight or driving without stopping. Will these individuals have to book separate domestic flights if they need to return home? Not sure about the logistics for people not from these cities. Feels as though this only works for those from the most central parts of Canada and is failing to include those from Northern, Eastern, and many other areas...

Ileen A.

Monday 15th of March 2021

@B, You need to quarantine in a hotel where you land in Canada. Once you are released you can then fly to your final destination and complete your quarantine at home.


Tuesday 16th of February 2021

The way I understand it is you fly to any of the 4 airports and quarantine there in a hotel until the test results taken in Canada at arrival show negative. Then you can continue on which is super inconvenient as you can not book anything since you do not know when the results will be obtained. And of corse if you test positive then you go to the “concentration camp” that nobody know where they are until you recover or die there if COVID strikes hard. Super disorganised this new process.

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 16th of February 2021

Since the government is restricting entry into the 4 airports, the hotel quarantine will have to be in one of those 4 cities. Let's say you complete the 3-days in the hotel quarantine and test negative, as per the government of Canada's website go to "your suitable place of quarantine at your final destination in Canada" which we interpret as you can fly into Halifax and go home to complete the rest of the 14 days. However, they have not been explicitly clear on this

Dawn Nash

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Absolutely ridiculous!!! I’m flying from Bermuda with four active cases and have to quarantine in Toronto which is red hot and people from Florida which is red hot and they drive right through????? Trudeau government isn’t using any common sense!!!


Saturday 13th of February 2021

Hi, As per your News (Feb 13th) " or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival." what do you mean by positive test, Thanks.


Saturday 13th of February 2021

“We’re not trying to punish people, we’re trying to keep people safe”

What’s safe about sending people to crowded “quarantine hotels” in the middle of a “pandemic?” They’re contradicting their own logic. Soon they’ll be saying there’s quarantine hotel outbreaks.

Also what is a “government quarantine facility?” Where will they even take you if you test positive? That sounds scary... the Canadian government is out of control and I’m terrified to be stuck here. I would leave but if I ever needed to return to Canada for some reason I would be in big trouble!

These restrictions are just insane. They’re acting like it’s the Black Plague it’s just infuriating. This is a very sad way to treat people


Saturday 13th of February 2021

Still a lot of unanswered does this work with families? Are they all quarantined together in a little room?: doesnt make sense..what about a 5 year you leave them alone for 3 days unaccompanied..or what if you have special needs...