Effective January 7th, 2021, all individuals 5 years of age and older entering Canada by air must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 laboratory test result prior to boarding their flight. As a result of the prompt decision from Canadian officials, there has been considerable confusion on the testing requirement. This testing requirement only applies to air travel. Individuals entering Canada by land do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
The testing requirement specifies that the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled time of departure to Canada. The following tests are considered appropriate COVID-19 tests for the purposes of air travel into Canada.
- PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
- RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
- Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
- Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
- Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
- Isothermal amplification
- Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
- RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
- Ct (cycle threshold)
- Next generational sequencing (NGS) or whole genome sequencing (WGS)
- Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
- Detection of the N gene
- Detection of Orf1a/b
- Detection of the S gene
- Detection of the E gene
- Detection of the RdRp gene
Travellers must ensure the negative test result includes the following elements:
- Traveller name and date of birth
- Name and civic address of facility that administered the test
- The method of test conducted (e.g. PCR or LAMP)
- The test result
These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample.
At this time, proof of having a vaccine will not replace a negative test result. Violating any instructions could lead to prison time and/or significant fines. The mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement still applies.
Please contact us if you have questions or want to discuss your travel options to Canada.