Canada to require all arriving air passengers to show negative COVID-19 test


In an effort to curb the continuing coronavirus crisis, Canada will require all air passengers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test three days before arriving in the country.

The presence of Canada Border Service Agency agents will also be increased at border crossings and airports to ensure Canadians understand the newly tightened rules, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said.

The test must be a PCR test — considered the gold standard of COVID-19 tests. These tests need to be processed in a lab and usually take at least a day to provide results.

The new rules are expected to come into effect in the next few days.

“We strongly advise against travel unless absolutely necessary,” Blair said at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“If you must travel, understand that upon your return, you must follow guidelines and quarantine for 14 days. It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. And if you don’t, it can result in serious consequences.”

The announcement follows criticism that federal travel restrictions have been too lax. It also comes as Ontario’s finance minister faces calls to resign over his travel to St. Barts over the holidays, despite Canadians being asked to avoid such trips.

Blair emphasized that the new travel rule does not replace the 14-day quarantine period. He said violation of quarantine laws can result in up to six months in jail or up to $750,000 in fines.

“But more importantly, you will put your family, your friends and your community at risk,” he continued.