Travel within Canada
When arriving at your destination, you may be subject to further measures imposed by the provincial, territorial or municipal governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are various measures in place in order to restrict non-essential inter and intra-provincial/ territorial travel as well as different isolation requirements. Please ensure you are familiar with the restrictions imposed by the local authorities at your flight’s destination.
Contact information for provincial and territorial COVID-19 resources is available via the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.
Requirements for Travellers Entering Canada
Pre-Departure Negative COVD-19 Testing
As of January 7, 2021, all inbound international passengers five years of age or older, including Canadians, will now be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight. Effective February 15, 2021, travellers entering Canada via land border crossings will also be required to show proof of a 72-hour negative PCR test. Valid test results must include:
- A negative test result
- Guest name and date of birth that matches ticket and travel documents
- Name of laboratory that administered the test
- Civic address of the laboratory that administered the test
- The date and time the test was conducted
- Testing method
- English or French language where possible
For the Canadian Government’s information on testing entities abroad:
- Visit travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
- Select a country
- Click the “Health” tab
- Scroll down to “Medical services and facilities”
- Click on “Local COVID-19 testing facilities”
If a traveller’s flight to Canada departs from one of the recognised countries identified by the Government of Canada as a country where PCR testing is deemed unavailable, they may still travel, however upon landing in Canada, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days in a Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine location.
Even with a negative COVID-19 PCR test all travellers entering Canada will still have to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travellers to Canada must use ArriveCAN and provide accurate contact information along with their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry. More details on ArriveCAN can be found further down the page.
The cost for a PCR test will vary by testing facility and is payable by the traveller. It is the responsibility of the traveller to source their own valid test and ensure the available timing of the test will satisfy these entry requirements before paying for a test.
Changes to Self-Serve Check-in for Departures to Canada
Some airlines may have updated their self-serve check-in options to allow guests to add their travel documents and select seats; however, they may not be able to add/pay for baggage or receive a boarding pass and will be directed to see an airline agent at the airport. The agent will verify that the guest has the required documentation and once confirmed, will issue a boarding pass/baggage tags.
A traveller will be denied boarding if:
- They are unable to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their scheduled flight.
- Their test results are inconclusive.
- They tested positive for COVID-19. Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 will be ineligible to travel.
Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) denied boarding compensation will not apply for these cases.
The Government of Canada has published a list of frequently asked questions about the new testing requirement. For any specific questions related to the implementation of the government policy, please contact the government or Canadian Consular Services. Visit travel.gc.ca for official updates from the Government of Canada.
COVID-19 Testing Upon Arrival to Canada
Effective February 22, 2021 at 12:00am EST, in addition to providing a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test, all travellers arriving in Canada by land or air must take two COVID-19 molecular tests — one on arrival and one as part of an at-home test kit to be completed later in the quarantine period.
Only certain travellers will be exempt from the arrival testing. For official details, please visit the Government of Canada’s travel assistance site.
Mandatory 3-day Hotel Quarantine Upon Arrival
Effective February 22, 2021 at 12:00am EST, before traveling to Canada by air, travellers must book and pay for a three-night stay in a government-authorized accommodation where they will remain until receiving the results from their first COVID-19 test conducted upon arrival at the airport. There will be a number of hotels to choose from, located near each of the four international airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. For information on how to book and what the traveller expectations are during their hotel stay, please visit the Government of Canada’s hotel stopover site.
After arrival, travellers are responsible for their own transportation to the hotel but are restricted to certain types, such as their own vehicle, a taxi or hotel shuttle. They cannot use public transportation, a ridesharing service, or be picked up by any other person.
Once a traveller has received the results from their first COVID-19 test they can take action accordingly.
If result is negative: they will be able to proceed to their place of quarantine to complete the remainder of the 14-day requirement. This includes taking a flight to their final destination in Canada if applicable. If they were connecting to another destination within Canada and receive a negative test result sooner than 3 days, they may be rebooked on the next available flight.
If result is positive: they will be transferred to a federal designated quarantine facility to complete the remainder of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. If they were connecting to another destination within Canada, travellers must rearrange their flight plans.
For travellers that are connecting to an onward international destination, they are exempt from this requirement, as long as they remain in the secure terminal area.
Only certain travellers will be exempt from the mandatory hotel stay. For official details, please visit the Government of Canada’s travel assistance site.
Submit Quarantine Information Digitally Prior to Arrival via ArriveCAN
As of November 21, 2020, all travellers to Canada will be required to submit quarantine information digitally via the ArriveCAN app upon and after entry into Canada. This information is crucial to Canada’s response to COVID-19.
Travellers must submit their information before boarding their flight to Canada or prior to entering Canada by land or sea, and be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt to a border services officer. Failure to do so may result in additional delays at the border and travellers could also be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to $1,000 fines.
In addition, all travellers, whether they arrived by air, land or sea, must provide information after their entry into Canada. Travellers must use ArriveCAN to confirm: 1) that they’ve arrived at the address they provided for their quarantine or isolation location within 48 hours of their entry into Canada; and 2) complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during their quarantine period.
For more information on these requirements and the ArriveCAN app, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.
The ArriveCan app is available for iOS, Android and online.
International Travel Outside of Canada
Note that some countries are enforcing additional measures that may include mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Please consult the government website of the country you are travelling to for their entry requirements.
You can also find more information about each travel restriction (by country) from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Their website provides the most current and accurate information regarding international travel.
Pre-Departure Negative COVD-19 Testing for Entry into the United States
As of January 26, 2021, the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) requires all guests entering the U.S., two years of age and over, to present a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding. To comply with this regulation, travellers will be required to present either of the following prior to boarding:
- Written or electronic documentation of a negative test result, taken within 3 calendar days of the first flight on the guest’s itinerary.
- Written or electronic documentation of a positive viral test result from the last 90 days that confirms the guest had a previous COVID-19 infection and a letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating the passenger is cleared to travel (documentation of recovery).
In addition, travellers must read a disclosure statement and complete an attestation form confirming either a negative test or recovery from COVID-19 with clearance to travel.
It is each guest’s responsibility to source and pay for their own valid test and ensure they have all valid travel documents required to meet the entry requirements.
Test Documentation Requirements
Test documentation can be printed out or displayed electronically and must contain the following:
- Traveller’s name.
- Type of test conducted. The type of test must be one of the following; no other test types are accepted:
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR/RT-PCR)
- Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP/RT-LAMP)
- Nucleic acid amplification (NAA/NAAT/RT-NAA/RT-NAAT)
- Viral Antigen
- The test result. The test result must be negative, not detected or otherwise indicates the guest does not have COVID-19.
- The date the test was conducted.
Documentation of Recovery Requirements
The U.S Government has acknowledged that travellers who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 may continue to test positive even after their treatment and quarantine period has ended. To accommodate this, a traveller may present a positive COVID-19 test and documentation from their physician advising they have recovered, and it is safe for them to travel. The documentation requirements are as follows:
- It must be on official healthcare provider letterhead and include the clinic name, address and phone number.
- It must be issued by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant; no other healthcare providers are accepted.
- It must state the traveller is cleared to travel regardless of their positive test result.
- It must have a copy of the positive test result from the last 90 days.
- The name on the positive test result and name referenced in the letter must match. Similar names are accepted (e.g. Bill/William).
Flights to Hawaii In December it was communicated that the State of Hawaii had implemented its own testing program. The Hawaii Safe Travels program remains in place and in some cases differs from the U.S. national program. Travellers travelling to Hawaii must adhere to the most restrictive aspect of each program. Please visit the State of Hawaii’s site if you have questions on Hawaii entrance requirements.
Mandatory Face Coverings
Acceptable face coverings are made with protective layers of absorbent fabric (such as cotton) that snugly fit over the nose and mouth and are secured to the face with ties or ear loops. As per Transport Canada, face coverings with exhalation valves and face shields or masks made of plastic are not considered an acceptable face covering. Any time an airline agent or crew member asks you to remove your face covering (such as for an ID check) remember to do so by untying it or unhooking the loop from your ear, and avoid touching the front of the face covering when removing it.
Mandatory Health Assessment
All travellers must be asked health questions prior to boarding a flight. In response to these questions, travellers must not provide information that they know to be false or misleading.
- Do you have a fever?
- Do you have shortness of breath?
- Do you have a cough?
- Have you been denied boarding on a flight due these symptoms in the last 14 days?
- Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?*
* For flights within Canada or departing Canada only.
If any of the answers are YES, the traveller will not be permitted to travel, unless they have a medical certificate to demonstrate that any symptoms they are presenting are unrelated to COVID-19.
As a reminder, no person should board a flight when they are feeling ill and could potentially put others at risk. If you are ill you must present an appropriate medical certificate. Should symptoms such as a fever, cough or difficulty breathing develop while in flight, please notify the flight crew immediately.
In the News
- Porter Airlines eyes June 21 for restart – April 12, 2021
- Air Canada, WestJet restoring some routes and that’s reason for optimism – March 24, 2021
- Canada-U.S. border closure extended again, to April 21 – March 18, 2021
- Accor to offer testing options at all hotels in Canada and U.S. – March 12, 2021
- Looks like 14-day mandatory quarantine will be extended through to April 21, 2021 – February 17, 2021
- Travellers Will Need To Pre-Book Quarantine Hotel Stay – February 12, 2021
- 72-hour PCR test mandatory for land border crossings as of Feb. 15: Trudeau – February 9, 2021
- Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Transat to suspend flights to Caribbean and Mexico at the request of Government of Canada – January 29, 2021
- Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Required for All Air Passengers Arriving in the US – January 12, 2021
- Pre-departure COVID-19 testing and negative results to be required for all air travellers coming to Canada – December 31, 2020
- United Eliminates International Change Fees – December 10, 2020
- Air Canada offers Manulife COVID-19 Insurance complimentary for Aeroplan Members – December 1, 2020
- Air Canada Collaborates with Shoppers Drug Mart to Deliver a COVID-19 Testing Solution for Customers – November 27, 2020
- WestJet to provide refunds, not just credits, for flights cancelled due to pandemic – October 24, 2020
- Research Points to Low Risk for COVID-19 Transmission Inflight – October 8, 2020
- When a Client Asks If a Rental Car is Safe – September 08, 2020