Random COVID-19 Testing at Airports to Resume July 19

If delayed flights, lost baggage, and hours-long security lines have yet to dissuade you from air travel this summer, the Canadian government has just added another step to the summer-of-travel-hell by announcing that mandatory random testing for COVID-19 will resume as of July 19, 2022 for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated and arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

The ArriveCAN app will also be strictly enforced even when surveys show that travellers hate it, border guards view it as a waste of time and even doctors say it should be scrapped.  Like taxes, the ArriveCAN app was designed to be a short-term solution to solve a problem. With taxes it was to pay for the wartime effort and with the app to create efficiency in monitoring the spread of COVID-19.  The app is viewed by most as just another headache and hurdle implemented on weary travellers.

Welcome to Pearson International Airport – Toronto

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. The tests however will be completed off-site and not at the airport.

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.

Pearson baggage – Photo CBC

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.  All vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected for the border testing surveillance program must complete arrival mandatory testing requirements.

If your arrival test result is positive, you must go into isolation and follow the federal requirement to isolate for 10 days from the date of the test result. Your 10-day isolation is required, even if the isolation requirement is shorter in your 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.

“As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence, said The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health. “We need to keep border testing measures in place because that is how we track 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.”

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