Starting Monday people entering Canada and land crossings will be subject to COVID testing. With new COVID-19 variant detections increasing, Ottawa recently announced further testing and quarantine requirements for travellers at land ports of entry. It is mandatory for travellers arriving at Canada’s land ports of entry, unless exempted, to present proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours before entry into Canada or proof of a positive COVID-19 test conducted between 14 and 90 days before arrival.
As of February 22, 2021, to meet day 1 arrival requirements, travellers entering Canada at land borders, unless exempt, will be required to take a test using a self-swab kit. This test can be taken either at the traveller’s quarantine location or at a border testing site.
High-volume points of entry
To help travellers meet this mandatory requirement of a COVID-19 molecular test on day 1 upon entry to Canada, self-swab kits will be handed out at all 117 land points of entry. There will be on-site testing provided at five high-volume land ports of entry as of February 22, 2021, and 11 additional ports of entry as of March 4, 2021. The kit will include instructions on how and when to collect their second required test on day 10 of their 14-day quarantine. In the GTHA the Queenston Lewiston high-volume site will be open Monday, and the Peace Bridge and Rainbow Bridge sites will open March 4.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is leading the collection of samples from travellers at land borders in coordination with federal partners including Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Canada Border Services Agency. The testing sites are to be operated by PHAC, with COVID-19 tests being administered by PHAC officers and Canadian Red Cross personnel.
While the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is providing preliminary logistics support to PHAC in the establishment of these sites, at no time will CAF be involved in testing, quarantine or enforcement at the border. CAF’s role is only to support planning, logistics and set up of the testing sites. Once this preliminary logistics work is complete, CAF will transition out of this support role.
“These testing requirements at our land border will also help us detect and address any cases caused by variants of concern,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “While our government has taken strong action to respond to COVID-19, we all have a part to play in stopping the spread. Canadians should not be travelling now.”
Failure to provide accurate information is an offence under the Quarantine Act. In addition, violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.