As of January 7, 2021, all air travellers bound for Canada will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to airlines prior to boarding international flights.
The new rules, which were announced on Wednesday, are meant to help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country, which is continuing its surge of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, into the winter.
The required COVID-19 test results for flyers will not replace the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which travellers will still have to complete before being allowed to roam freely around the country.
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The Government of Canada website says anyone “not respecting the mandatory requirements is a serious offence with consequences and penalties.”
All flyers above the age of five will be required to take a coronavirus molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure. Test results must come back negative with written or electronic proof and it must be presented to airlines before boarding.
The Government of Canada website says the test must be provided by an accredited lab or an “external organization” like a local government.
If a negative PCR test is not provided, travellers will be denied entry to flights within Canada, unless otherwise exempt.
Flyers arriving from countries where PCR testing is not available will be required to report to a designated quarantined zone run by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The government says all travellers into Canada will be responsible for paying for the PCR tests themselves. Federal officials are recommending all travellers get travel insurance as soon as possible and make sure their plans cover all medical expenses.