Canada Announces Stricter Restrictions to Land, Air Travel

February 12, 2021 Updated: February 14, 2021

Ottawa announced on Friday that the federal government will implement further testing and quarantine requirements for travellers arriving at Canada’s airports and land borders starting next week.

On Feb. 15, all travellers, with some exceptions, arriving to Canada by land will be required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 molecular test results taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival. And starting Feb. 22, they will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well.

“Essential workers such as truckers and emergency service providers as well as cross border communities will be exempt from this requirement and the government will continue to assess exemptions on a case by case basis,” Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said during a press conference on Friday.

And starting Feb. 22, “non-essential” travellers arriving in Canada at airports will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive before exiting the airport, followed by another test toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.

“Air travellers will also be required to reserve prior to departure to Canada a 3-night stay in a government authorised hotel,” Hajdu added. “Travellers will be required to stay at their reserved hotel for three nights at their own costs while they await the results of their arrival test.” 

Hotel booking information will be available online starting Feb. 18, the health minister said.

The cost of the hotel stay, including the COVID-19 test, transportation and meals, could be as much as $2,000, the government previously said.

Also on Feb. 22, all travellers including those arriving by both land and air, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test toward the end of their 14-day quarantine. Travellers must also submit their travel and contact information including a quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN, an app, before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

Ministry of Public Safety Bill Blair said failure to produce a valid COVID-19 test may incur heavy fines of up to $3,000 or even criminal prosecution. 

“Failure to produce proof of the test may also result in those travellers being referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and even further on to a designated quarantine facility,” Blair said. “All foreign nationals who do not have a valid molecular test will not be allowed into Canada.”