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Canada introduces negative Covid-19 test requirement

International students who come to Canada by plane will have to show a negative Covid-19 test before they can board flights according to new rules from the Canadian government. 

Travellers hoping to enter Canada must show a negative test to their airline in the country they are flying from. Photo: Pexels

"Those who receive a negative test result will still have to complete a full 14-day quarantine"

In an announcement, officials said that the rules will come into effect from January 7. They will apply to all travellers including Canadian citizens. 

“These new measures will provide another layer of protection for Canadians”

People who travel to Canada will be required to present documentation of a negative laboratory test to the airline before they board their plane. 

The test must be performed using a Covid-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

“Our government remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians,” said minister of Transport Marc Garneau. 

“These new measures will provide another layer of protection for Canadians as we continue to assess public health risks and work to limit the spread of Covid-19 in Canada.”

It is hoped that the new measures will help prevent air travel from being a source of further introduction and spread of Covid-19 and new variants of the virus into Canada.

Those who receive a negative test result will still have to complete a full 14-day quarantine.

The Canadian government said that it will be increasing surveillance efforts to ensure travellers entering Canada complete the applicable mandatory 14-day quarantine period under the Quarantine Act.

All travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if not suitable, will be required to quarantine in a federal quarantine facility.

If travellers violate instructions when they enter Canada, they could face up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

“Since the emergence of Covid-19, we have had in place strong measures to prevent the importation of Covid-19 cases,” said minister of Health Patty Hajdu. 

“We can all work together to save lives. Stay in Canada and follow public health guidelines to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community.”

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35 Responses to Canada introduces negative Covid-19 test requirement

  1. This is insane! Thousands of people abroad will be stranded because they cannot get Covid test results within 72 hours. I live in Canada and cannot get Covid test results within 72 hours. Had the test on Dec 31st at 10 am still waiting. Today I’d Feb 4th. Once again it’s up to the airlines to police passengers on behalf of the government. Up to now I thought the Liberals were doing a pretty good job.
    They have lost my vote with this ridiculous move.

  2. This is crazy, so not only are they keeping the 14 day quarantine, they’re now adding another stressor on top ? If someone is negative why would they need to quarantine, with this initiative we can open up the borders again and continue travel as long as we have the neg test and we quarantine.

  3. How about positive passengers who got infected abroad, for how long are they going to be stranded outside Canada? Since we know now that once someone is infected they can show positive results for months???

  4. This is ridiculous. I agree with the test but I think it would make more sense to test upon arrival. Or to test before AND 4 days after arrival to avoid a quarantaine. The government is trying to keep us locked in this prison. Will the politics travelling to sunny beaches be exempted from this test? Just like they were from quarantine… what is even more shocking is the lack of attention and reaction from the public.

  5. I agree this is ridiculous , I came to Mexico to bring a friend needed medical supplies . I’m with one person with no phone or car and a two hour trip to get tested . Why can’t I be tested when I arrive home ?

  6. Wow, this is insane. First the PCR test is known to produce false positives as anyone with a regular flu will test positive. Secondly, the statistics used to trigger Covid alarm are flawed as absolute numbers rather than percentages are used; 1000 cases in Toronto are NOT the same as 1000 cases in a little town – the “together we can save lives” is BS. Let the scientists and/or virologists make those decisions not the politicians. This is going to isolate/ destroy the Canadian economy without really saving more lives. Whatever this Covid bug is, it is here to stay and herd immunity is the natural path like in the past. Not to speculate about any the hundreds of conspiracy theories about the real nature of this Covid crisis.

  7. I am in Belize right now and although they also require a negative COVID test and recommend getting in advance, they also have rapid testing at the airports when you arrive instead which makes way more sense. Due to the negative test there was no quarantine needed so I agree the way Canada is doing it is crazy! They should at least look at other countries like Belize and learn a better way.

  8. Anyone who travels is committing a crime against humanity! We are in a critical state, front liners workers are getting hit the hardest and people are dying from the virus. In case you all missed the message from the government it is “Don’t Travel”.

  9. I’m very concerned about the double hit.
    Before I was allowed to travel over to Hawaii I was required to negative Covid test, no problem check at the airport to clear for flight. No Quarantine once I arrived here. Why not the same treatment upon arrival back to Canada.

  10. This is getting crazy…if ur gonna test b4 and maybe after u enter canada why quarantine for 14 days???what is you were vaccinated do u have to quarantine???

  11. I’m in Japan now as my father suddenly passed away few weeks ago. It’s Not a leisure trip and costing me lots already. To take a test will cost 300$US or more 500$ at Airport. Also I’ve 10hour connection in Paris that may be changed (u never know)
    It’ll take 11hours to get to Paris it’s already 21hours and result takes 24plus hours!!
    It’s Really really stressful that I don’t need. If you think about it, I may get virus during flight or connection anyway?

  12. What the $&#@. You cannot get the tests done and results back in 72 hours in Canada but they expect other countries to be able to do this before travel back to Canada. Someone missed a memo along the way. In Panama there is testing UPON ARRIVAL where it should be done. I personally have no problem with the 14 day quarantine after arrival even if testing is negative. I am retired therefore have no timelines per se once I return. Come on Canada get with the times. What you are asking is NOT POSSIBLE. Time to get some forward thinkers in charge instead of the buffoons in politics.

  13. I think the most important job of the government of a country is to protect it’s people. That’s what the Canadian government is doing.There is nothing wrong in it.

    • Yes there is something wrong with it. It doesn’t make sense coupled with the mandatory quarantine period and is almost impossible to achieve.

  14. PCR test takes up to 5 days to obtain the results but has to be presented before flight and cannot have been completed more than 72 hours before.
    does anyone else see a proble here?

  15. I agree with the extra protections, yet the timing and extremely short notice will effect thousands including me and my fiance!!! Her flight was booked a week ago, and now we’re scrambling to get a PCR test in a country that Kant organize boiling water. I’m about to loose a great deal of money, and once again a set back in seeing a loved one, I guess our country is now very close in the running in not being organized enough to boil water. Hay idiots you owe me money for this outrage.

  16. I am traveling from a country where AC and WJ stopped direct flights leaving me to fly to US and connect to Canada. But now my pre boarding test is not valid on the connecting flight? That is ridiculous ?

  17. I think the government is again passing the buck. Here they are giving vaccines to federal prisoners but you have to have a pcr test to return home.
    Has anyone tested the legality of this. Can they legally refuse entry to a Canadian citizen or resident.
    The airlines are already suffering and now a new curve ball. The government needs to rethink this strategy.

  18. This is not about saving lives. It is about control. PCR tests are not reliable. It takes upwards of two weeks to get results (and this was a priority test for employment restrictions) so this option is not viable for the average person. Having to pay going out and coming in is nothing but a HUGE money grab. Once again, supported by our governments, the pharmaceuticals are sucking families dry. The Trudeau government should be nothing but embarrassed and ashamed of the way this situation has been and continues to be handled.

  19. Do I need to get a specific covid test travelling outside of Canada ? Or can I just get a regular covid test. The fly clear tests are 200 dollars. I’d prefer to get a regular test obviously!?!

  20. Good seeing lots of intelligent comments here about the implications of this and the PCR test unreliability. PCR tests are not reliable and it is well known in the scientific community. A positive PCR test could leave someone stranded abroad for months, and they may not even be infectious with Covid-19! We need to challenge out Govts. Already success in Portugal.

  21. I came early Nov before new restrictions in place. Garneau’s rules if it were possible would be ok.However, Cannot find a clinic that will assure 72 hr. requiement. I’ve been pro-actively trying to find clinic that would give results within the 72 hr. Flight home early on a Tue. morning. Clinics either closed or short hours over weekend which is the time I’d need to have the test. Does not make sense to change ticket if cannot get assurance of test within time frame anyway. i’m here on essential requirement.

  22. I agree with most of the above comments. This is just punishment to stick it to Canadians who dared to travel, not about safety. Impossible to get results in 72 hours where we are in Mexico. We came down here in October when there were hardly any cases, no deaths and the airlines were running. Health Canada urged Canadians not to travel but they didn’t stop flights and I thought it was for our safety in going to countries that might have outbreaks. Now they impose this stupid rule that is impossible to fulfill. They’re not only adding a huge amount of stress but some Canadians will die abroad because of this. Their blood will be on your hands Mark Garneau.

  23. Who ever said that travel is a crime against humanity wants to give their head a shake. We travel to Mexico live for six months as we have nowhere else to live in Canada. Or would you rather we sleep under a bridge. Ours is only one example, I’m sure there are many more.

  24. Currently in Phoenix travelling back to Calgary and just learned to get a PCR test done takes up to 8 days. If you have medical coverage, which we do not have you get ahead of the line and get it back in 3 to 4 days so no guarantee you will get your test in 72 hours regardless. We chose to travel because our Alberta government started the rapid testing. Which by the way actually made sense. The federal government has forced a regulation that cannot be satisfied and impossible to comply with. What idiot came up with this policy. As a Canadian our rights as a citizen have been violated and we are being rejected returning back to our home country. Wtf….

  25. Funny how the Canadian embassy is closed to Canadians in Jamaica. What the hell is going on? Leaving citizens stranded with no options for tests and no guidance from the embassy. Only “We are working on it.” You’ve lost my vote.

  26. This is crazy… We have been in Mexico since Oct and no symptoms. Now the rules changed and we have to pay $350.00/person to get a test here that I may or may not have the result in order to leave, after already booking flights. It is ok for airlines to change flights but not for the passengers without hassles.

  27. The rise in infections is from social gatherings not from travellers returning to Canada. Why can’t they focus on what’s really going wring? This makes no sense!!

  28. we live in a terrible time..
    Covid test was done at 01/14/2021, result is not came. My flight today 01/17/2021. No idea what to do in this case

  29. This has got to change. Starting on Jan. 26, 2021 the US accepts rapid testing from their citizens in order for them to return home. Canada should do this as well. It is impossible in many places to have this PCR testing done. Canadians who are Covid-free will not be able to come home because of this ridiculous requirement.

  30. Everything is okay.But why there is so much delay in Canada to get the result of a PCR test?In IGI airport delhi,You get the result in less than 5 hours!

  31. If returning to Canada using a flight with 2 connections does the negative test count for the initial portion of the total flight or must it be within 72 hours of boarding the final segment of the flight to Canada ?

  32. This STUPID RULE is only in Her Majesty’s provinces or states. It makes no sense. For example, I just returned to the UK from abroad and in addition to my negative covid test (pcr, antigen), I had to pay another £ 210 to book a covid test kit, without which you can’t board in the plane. In that kit are two tests you have to do on the second day of arrival and the 8th day. Of course, 10 days in quarantine. If you want a “faster release”, you have to pay for another covid test on the 5th day of arrival …
    There are no options to choose a cheaper kit. Only one option.
    If you come from a “red list”, you are “dead” … You have to book a very expensive hotel for 10 days, pay for the very expensive kit …
    In Canada, politicians copy – paste and add something more cruel. Even if you show them the negative covid test, you have to book 3 days at an expensive hotel, even if you don’t come from a “red list”, take another PCR test and stay in quarantine for another 14 days even if the PCR test performed at the hotel was negative … NO SENSE in all this mess … THESE POLITICIANS HAVE TO GO BEHIND THE BARS … CRIMINALS …

  33. Does anyone know what happens if you exceed the within 72 hours rule? Are you refused entry to Canada if you exceed the rule by say 2 hours?

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