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Rules Established for Those Returning to Canada

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On February 12th the Government of Canada released an update on restrictions for Canadians returning home and any international travellers wishing to visit.

The release states the following:

For travellers arriving to Canada by land, as of February 15, 2021, all travellers, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

All travellers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.

With limited exceptions, air travellers, will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travellers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021.

These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.

Finally, at the same time on February 22, 2021, all travellers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel, including vacation plans, outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada. Now is not the time to travel.

The wording is odd considering the statement "will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test....before exiting the airport. We assume this means the testing will be done at the airport.

In a notice sent out yesterday the government clarifies that ALL travellers are required to book a stay at a government-authorized hotel for 3 days at the expense of the traveller. They will be required to stay at their reserved hotel for up to 3 nights, at their own cost, while they await the results of their arrival test. There is no indication whether the booking is refundable should the test come back early.

The list of PHAC-approved hotels will be available online on February 18, 2021. Travellers must reserve their accommodation prior to departure to Canada

The price will include costs associated with the room, food, cleaning, infection prevention and control measures, security and transportation. Travelers must present proof of having reserved and pre-paid for their accommodation through ArriveCAN.

Travellers who receive a negative test result from the test upon arrival at the airport in Canada, and have a suitable quarantine plan, will be able to leave the hotel and proceed to complete their 14-day quarantine at their planned quarantine location.

Travellers who need to use public transportation or have an onward domestic flight to reach their final destination and planned quarantine location, can do so after they receive a negative result from the test they took when they arrived to Canada.

They do not indicate the time it takes to receive the results although one could assume it will be within the 3 day quarantine period. It's not clear why having received a test result prior to getting on board a flight that it would necessary to have another one done upon landing in Canada if their is no similar risk for those flying domestically.

Also of note in the press release are the following points.

  • permanent residents arriving by land to Canada, who do not present a valid COVID-19 molecular test, will be allowed entry, but may be subject to a fine of up to $3,000 per day or face criminal prosecution.
  • violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

Happy travels.....