Here’s What Travellers Need to Know as Canada Cancels Pre-Entry Tests

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The Canadian government scrapped the pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirement for all fully vaccinated travellers coming to the country, taking another major step back to normalcy.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a virtual press conference on Thursday that the country is “entering into a transition phase of this pandemic,” as he announced the removal of pre-entry COVID-19 testing effective on April 1, at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Here is what you need to know if you are planning a trip to Canada after that day.

Fully Vaccinated Foreign Nationals

Starting April 1, fully vaccinated foreign nationals coming into Canada by air, land, or water will no longer be required to take a PCR molecular test or an antigen test prior to departure.

Travellers are considered “fully vaccinated” if they have received one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine or at least two doses of the following approved COVID-19 vaccines (including a mix of two accepted vaccines):

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 to 11 years
  • Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, one must have received the second dose of vaccine at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada.

All travellers are still required to submit their mandatory information through the ArriveCAN mobile app or on the Canadian government website before their arrival. Travellers will be asked to answer a series of questions about their vaccination status and travel history. Those who fail to complete their ArriveCAN submissions may be subjected to testing upon arrival and must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status, according to a news release issued on March 17.

Partially Vaccinated Travellers

Pre-entry testing requirements have not changed for partially or unvaccinated travellers who are currently allowed to come to Canada. Unless otherwise exempt, all travellers aged 5 years and older who do not qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to provide the following accepted types of pre-entry COVID-19 test results:

  • a valid, negative antigen test, administered or observed by an accredited testing provider, taken no more than one day before their scheduled flight departure time, or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.
  • a valid, negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight departure time, or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.
  • a previous positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before their scheduled flight departure time, or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.

It is noted that positive antigen test results will not be accepted for boarding a flight or entry to Canada.

Unless otherwise exempt, all travellers to Canada who do not qualify as fully vaccinated will continue to be tested on arrival and on Day-8 of their mandatory 14-days quarantine.

Random Testing on Arrival Continues After April 1

On Feb. 28, the Canadian government removed the on-arrival mandatory testing for fully vaccinated travellers, meaning that fully vaccinated travellers may be randomly selected for a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival.

This has not changed with the further removal of the pre-entry testing on April 1.

Travellers selected for this on-arrival random testing are not required to quarantine while awaiting their test result.

Duclos noted that while the government has dropped these testing requirements, they could be brought back later if the COVID-19 situation deteriorated again.

“Today’s announcement is encouraging, but let us remember that all measures are subject to review. We will continue to adjust them as the epidemiological situation evolves,” Duclos said.

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.

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