Air travel: Canada reinstates random COVID-19 testing


The federal government is reinstating mandatory random COVID-19 testing for air travelers entering Canada, effective July 19.

Just over a month after suspending the measure, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced on Thursday that it would reinstate random testing for fully vaccinated air travelers arriving in the country at four major airports. Canadian: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

Testing will be done offsite, either during in-person appointments at « select test provider sites and pharmacies » or using virtual appointments and self-swab testing. The ArriveCAN app will make the random selections and travelers will receive an email within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration, detailing how to arrange their testing and how long they need to quarantine.

Mandatory random testing only applies to fully vaccinated travellers. Unless exempted, unvaccinated travelers will still need to test on days one and eight of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. If a fully immunized traveler tests positive, 10-day isolation is required, regardless of the province or territory where the traveler resides.

Mandatory random testing continues at land entry points, the government added.

“We must keep border testing measures in place because this is how we track the importation of the COVID-19 virus and new variants of concern,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in the statement. “We will continue to adapt our border measures to balance the need to protect Canadians while supporting our economic recovery.

According to Duclos’ office, PHAC will follow up with travelers to make sure they complete their tests and issue warnings — as well as possible fines — for travelers who don’t comply.

About four or five percent of travelers entering Canada will be selected for random testing, providing a sample of the general population, the minister’s office told CTV News.

There are no changes to land borders, where mandatory random testing has never been paused.

With files from Mike Le Couteur and Rachel Aiello of CTV News


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