The Government of Canada announced new rules on international travel aimed at preventing the further introduction and spread of COVID-19 into Canada. The new Federal and Provincial rules are in addition to preexisting rules on international travel which themselves were introduced only a few weeks ago. Canada’s multi-layered approach is in response to new variants of the virus recently identified in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa.

Federal Rules on International Travel

Prior to the introduction of the new rules, international travelers entering Canada by air must undertake a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 72-hours prior to boarding their flight to Canada. In addition to the PCR test, upon arrival to Canada travelers must present a detailed 14-day self-isolation plan to border officials, and self-isolate for 14-days in accordance with their approved self-isolation plan. Travelers must also use the ArriveCAN app to enter their information and self-isolation plans.

*Please note that travelers must continue to adhere to the rules referenced above in addition to the new rules and requirements which are to take effect in the coming days/weeks.

Federal Rules which will take effect in the coming weeks

In addition to undertaking a PCR test within 72-hours of their flight to Canada, travelers will be mandated to undertake a COVID-19 test upon their arrival at one (1) of only (4) Canadian airports authorized to accept international flights to Canada. The four (4) authorized airports are Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Travelers must then wait up to three (3) days for test results at an as-yet-to-be-determined government-approved hotel(s). Travelers will be expected to pay for their accommodation at the designated hotel(s) in advance of their travel to Canada. Upon receipt of negative test results, travelers may then commence with their 14-day self-isolation plans. At present, no definitive date has been given regarding when these rules will take effect; however, it is anticipated that they will be put in place over the next few weeks.

*As mentioned above, the new Federal rules are in addition to Canada’s preexisting rules including pre-flight PCR testing and 14-day self-isolation.

Provincial Rules which take effect Monday, February 1, 2021

Please note that effective Monday, February 1, 2021, all travelers entering Canada via Toronto’s Pearson International Airport are mandated to undertake a COVID-19 rapid test upon arrival. Ontario’s decision to implement mandatory testing upon arrival is a stop-gap measure from now until the Federal rules are enacted over the next few weeks.

Due to import and frequency of changes to Canada’s international travel policies and border entry requirements, it is imperative that travelers fully understand and comply with the rules.

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