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Covid-19: February 2021 travel advice

A serene lake in Canada
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Do you need to take a covid-19 test when you arrive in Canada?

The Government of Canada has changed its requirements for travellers arriving in Canada. Air passengers coming into Canada must take a covid-19 test before flying. International flights will only land at four airports in Canada. Most people arriving in Canada by air must pay to stay in a room in an approved hotel for at least three nights, and they must take a covid-19 molecular test.

This article was published on 8 February 2021. For the most up-to-date information, please see: The Government of Canada’s page about Flying to and within Canada.

Where are international flights landing in Canada?

All international flights to Canada are being funnelled into just four airports:

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Montréal-Trudeau International Airport
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport

This includes private and charter flights, and flights from the rest of the American continent which were previously excluded from restrictions.

You may need to change your arrangements for your onward journey once you arrive in Canada, taking into account transport restrictions.

What covid-19 tests do I need when I return to Canada?

Before you start your journey back to Canada you must get a covid-19 test. Your airline will refuse to let you board without either:

  • a negative result obtained within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time
  • a positive covid-19 molecular test result taken between 14 and 90 days before the scheduled departure.

On arrival in Canada, you will need another test. You will need to pay for both these tests.

Do I have to quarantine when I arrive in Canada?

Before you travel into Canada you must book three nights in one of the hotels approved by the Government of Canada.

What happens if I am arriving in Canada by land?

Before you can come across a land border into Canada you will have to have been tested for covid-19. Commercial truckers are among the small group of travellers who do not need a test.

What is a molecular covid-19 test?

Molecular covid-19 tests test for the virus’s genetic material and tells you that the virus is present in your body. Another type of test, the antigen test, looks to see whether your body has had an immune response to the virus. Some common types of molecular covid-19 tests are:

  • PCR test
  • RT-PCR
  • Nucleic acid test (NAT)

If you are not sure whether you have had a molecular covid-19 test, the Government of Canada has a list of approved types of molecular tests. A molecular covid-19 test is usually done by swabbing your nose and throat, or just your nose; or by taking saliva sample.

When you show your test result at the airport, the proof of result (which might be paper or electronic) must include:

  • your name and date of birth
  • name and address of the clinic that administered the test
  • date of the test
  • method of testing
  • test result.

Do I still need to get tested if I have been vaccinated against covid-19?

At time of writing you need to get a covid-19 tests before and after arriving in Canada if you have been vaccinated, although this may change, so keep an eye on the Government of Canada’s travel advice.

Where can I get more information about returning to Canada?

The Government of Canada’s page about Flying to and within Canada has up-to-date information about your responsibilities on arriving in Canada.

Where can I get travel vaccinations in Edmonton?

Before you travel, get a travel health appointment to make sure that you are up-to-date with all your shots. Other illnesses are available during the pandemic – including measles, hepatitis A and Japanese encephalitis, which are vaccine preventable! If you need an appointment at a travel clinic in Edmonton, turn to Canadian Travel Clinics. It is quick and easy to book online.