Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety for Canada, has announced the government will be adding an extra layer of security for passengers traveling into Canada.
Starting January 7, 2021, all approved passengers into Canada will also have to provide proof of a negative PCR test, performed no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in the country.
The new PCR test requirement will NOT circumvent the blanket 14-day quarantine arrivals still face upon arrival, but instead act as an additional layer of security, ensuring infected passengers are not boarding flights into the country in the first place.
Many other nations have removed their blanket 14-day quarantines as suggested by the CDC, but Canada has been one of the last countries in the world to hold steadfast to their strict border rules.
Currently, entry into Canada is only possible for citizens, permanent residents, and a short list of essential travelers, extended family members, and a few other exceptions. General entry for tourism has not yet resumed.
It is assumed the pre-flight 72-hour PCR test will be only be required for essential and approved foreigners traveling into Canada, as citizens of Canada have the right to return home at any time, and still must complete the compulsory 14-day quarantine.
Official rules for the new negative PCR test requirement will soon be released and posted by the Government of Canada.
Canadians Are Still Allowed To Travel Abroad, If They So Choose
While Canadians are being advised to not travel abroad for non-essential purposes, there are no laws prohibiting it. Canadian citizens can still travel for leisure purposes, as long as they comply with the quarantine rules coming back home. Here is a complete list of countries allowing Canadians for the purposes of tourism.
WestJet and Air Canada are making travel easier for Canadians that do want to head to sunnier destinations, by providing the pre-flight testing that is required to travel to Hawaii at this time. Other popular destinations for Canadians during the winter months like Mexico and the Dominican Republic are not requiring travelers to bring tests or quarantines to enter, making them increasingly popular for snowbirds looking to escape.
Calgary airport is still running it’s ‘test to release’ pilot program that allow returning Canadians to take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival and quarantine for 12-48 hours awaiting results. After receiving a negative result, they can leave quarantine early.
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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