Required Negative COVID-19 Test to Cross Land Borders with the U.S.

The Canadian-U.S. border has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 2020. Following mandatory testing that was put in place for air travel in January, all land borders with the United States will now require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within a 72-hour window before entering Canada. The new measure will begin Tuesday, February 15th, 2021. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced the policy change on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021. However, although the Canadian government is diligently taking the extra precaution to protect Canadians from COVID-19, anyone lacking proof of a negative test result won’t necessarily be turned away at the border. For example, Canadian residents who are trying to re-enter Canada so that they can come home, are not allowed to be refused entry at the land border. As a result of this law, any Canadian citizen who is coming into Canada and fails to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours will be fined $3,000 upon entry, followed by a period of monitoring by health officials throughout their 14-day self-isolation. 

Furthermore, the negative test provided upon arrival into Canada must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test specifically. 

The only airports accepting travellers from international flights include Vancouver International, Calgary International, Toronto Pearson International and Montreal-Trudeau International airports. Although the start date is not released, all travellers arriving on a plane are required to receive COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Canada. This means that after getting tested, travellers must self-isolate while they await their results. Trudeau announced that it is estimated that a three-day self-isolation in a hotel will cost $2,000. Travellers are expected to cover their own expenses for the mandatory hotel quarantine.

Foreign Canadians may only enter Canada for essential reasons or to reunite with their family, and travel restrictions from last year that are meant to expire on February 21st, 2021, will most likely be renewed amidst the continuing of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These new measures are in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Canada. 

Travel has been significantly reduced in Canada, limited to only essential travel, resulting in an 88% decrease in land border crossings and a 92% decrease in air border crossings compared to last year, according to Canadian Border Services Agency travel statistics. Prime Minister Trudeau, adds that this is the reason why international travel and flights have only been responsible for only 2% of Covid-19 cases in the country, says CIC News.

 

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Author: Jenna Bouwman

Jenna is studying political sciences in her third year at Acadia University.