Canada is set to re-establish its mandatory random Covid-19 testing at four major airports from Tuesday.
The Government of Canada paused mandatory random testing for those entering Canada by air on June 11, 2022, as part of a broader strategy to transition to testing outside of the airports.
Citing the safety of Canadians as a number one priority since the beginning of the pandemic, a Government press release read, "Mandatory random testing will resume as of July 19, 2022, for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto."
"The Government of Canada set up entry restrictions, testing, and quarantine requirements to manage risks at the border. Testing was and remains an important part of our surveillance program to track the importation of Covid-19 virus into Canada and identify new variants of concern," it added.
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, travellers must have been vaccinated with a primary series of a Covid-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada.
All testing for air travellers, for both those who qualify as fully vaccinated and partially or unvaccinated people, will be completed outside of airports, either via an in-person appointment at select testing provider locations and pharmacies, or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test.
Travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, unless exempt, must continue to test on Day 1 and Day 8 of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Moving testing outside of airports will support testing for travellers arriving by air while still being able to monitor and quickly respond to new variants of concern, or changes to the epidemiological situation. Mandatory random testing continues at land border points of entry, with no changes.
"Border testing is an important tool in Canada's detection and surveillance of Covid-19 and has been essential in helping us slow the spread of the virus. Data from the testing program are used to understand the current level and trends of importation of Covid-19 into Canada. In addition, these data have and continue to inform the Government of Canada's safe easing of border measures," the statement read.
Air travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated and who are selected for mandatory random testing, as well as air travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration.
The email will contain information to help them arrange for their test with a testing provider in their region. Unvaccinated travellers can complete their tests by a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment with the test provider at their store or at select pharmacies and still respect their quarantine requirements.
All travellers must continue to use ArriveCAN (free mobile app or website) to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada, and/or before boarding a cruise ship destined for Canada, with few exceptions.
"It is the fastest, easiest and most secure way for travellers to show they meet public health requirements. Additional efforts are being undertaken to enhance compliance with ArriveCAN, which is already over 95 per cent for travellers arriving by land and air combined."
All vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected for the border testing surveillance program must complete arrival mandatory testing requirements.
If the arrival test result is positive, one must go into isolation and follow the federal requirement to isolate for 10 days from the date of the test result. The 10-day isolation is required, even if the isolation requirement is shorter in one's province or territory.
Mandatory random testing and information in the ArriveCAN app are necessary tools that help inform public health advice to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Canadian Minister of Health said, "As we have said all along, Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence. We need to keep border testing measures in place because that is how we track the importation of the Covid-19 virus, and of new variants of concern. We will keep adapting our border measures to balance the need to protect Canadians while supporting our economic recovery."
"As demand for travel increases across the world, today's announcement marks an important step in our progress to streamline testing processes outside our airports while preventing the further spread of Covid-19. The Government of Canada will continue to protect travellers and employees and ensure our transportation system is safe, reliable, and resilient for the long term," Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport said.
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, said, "The safety and security of Canadians remains our top priority. As more people continue to travel again, we're working hard and adding resources to keep things moving. The CBSA is hiring new people - including retired officers and student border services officers - making additional kiosks available and improving ArriveCAN so it is faster and easier to use. As the situation evolves, we'll continue to make adjustments and enhancements at the border because that's what Canadians expect."
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