Random Testing of International Air Passengers to Resume in Canada

The government of Canada has reinstated the COVID-19 random testing program for international passengers arriving at the country’s four major airports.

The Canadian government paused random testing on June 11 as part of a broader strategy to move testing away from airports. Public Health Agency of Canada officials announced that random testing will resume Tuesday in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The Government of Canada has done everything it can to keep Canadians safe since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these actions included entry restrictions, testing, and quarantine requirements to manage the risks at the border. As a part of our surveillance program, we tested Canada to track the importation of COVID-19 virus and identify new variants of concern.

For travellers arriving in Canada by air to Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto, who are fully vaccinated, random testing will resume as of July 19, 2022. A fully vaccinated traveler must have received the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the government of Canada at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada.

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The tests for those qualified as fully vaccinated and for those partially or unvaccinated will not be done in airports but rather elsewhere outside the airport. In order to comply with these procedures, it will be necessary for passengers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, unless exempt, to test their swab on day 1 and day 8 of their 14-day quarantine.

Tests performed at Canada’s borders have played a vital role in detecting and preventing COVID-19 from spreading across the country. Data from these tests are used to learn more about COVID-19 importation into Canada as well as the current level and trends of the virus. Besides, these data have informed and continue to inform the Government of Canada when it comes to safe easing of border measures.

“Moving testing outside of airports will support testing for travelers arriving by air while still being able to monitor and quickly respond to new variants of concern, or changes to the epidemiological situation,” the notice states.

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“Air travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated and who are selected for mandatory random testing, as well as air travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration. The email will contain information to help them arrange for their test with a testing provider in their region. Unvaccinated travellers can complete their tests by a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment with the test provider at their store or at select pharmacies and still respect their quarantine requirements”.

“All travelers are required to use ArriveCAN, either through the free mobile app or website, to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours before and after their arrival in Canada”.

All vaccinated travellers selected for the border testing surveillance program must complete the arrival mandatory testing requirements.

In addition, if the arrival test shows a positive result, you must enter isolation for 10 days. This 10-day period of isolation applies even if the isolation period is shorter in your province or territory.

New Variant Being Detected

According to the latest order from the Canadian government, the new variants of the Covid-19 virus will be detected.

“As demand for travel increases across the world, today’s announcement marks an important step in our progress to streamline testing processes outside our airports while preventing the further spread of Covid-19,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabreh.

Canadian tourism leaders, however, are criticizing the government’s decision to re-implement tests for international air travellers. The decision was called a step backward by these leaders and an attack on the Canadian tourism industry, causing international and Canadian travellers to suffer the consequences.

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