This article is about the COVID-19 tests required for Canadian travellers. On departure and arrival in Canada. It comes at a time when many Canadian travellers are beginning to think seriously about going abroad.
Indeed, the government announced a relaxation on travel restrictions, which now allows us to believe that we will soon be able to cross the border. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news on this subject.
COVID-19 testing for Canadian travellers
Travel between Canadian provinces
As of June 2021, no COVID-19 testing is required when travelling by air to other Canadian provinces. Neither on the way out nor on the way back.
Internationally, however, COVID-19 testing is required on three occasions:
1- Leaving from Canada. You have to comply with the requirements of the country you are flying to. For example, the United States requires a negative antigen test that is three days old or less. In addition, your departure airport may ask you for the test for the destination, even if you have a stopover.
If you are travelling to a country that requires a COVID-19 test, you will need to provide proof of that test here at YQR even if you are connecting to another airport before leaving Canada.YQR
2- Before boarding the plane from the country you were visiting to return to Canada. Canada requires a PCR-type molecular test that is less than 72 hours old.
3- Upon arrival on Canadian soil. Yet another mandatory molecular test, but this time the cost of the PCR is courtesy of the government. As of mid-June 2021, it is still necessary to take a PCR test at home on the 8th day of quarantine.
These tests, which are required upon arrival at the Canadian airport and repeated at home a few days later, will soon no longer be necessary for those who have been fully vaccinated.
Your proof of COVID-19 testing
Your proof of COVID-19 testing (paper or digital) must be in English or French for Canada (or in English and the language of the destination country if you are travelling abroad).
This document must contain:
- Name and date of birth
- Name and address of the laboratory that performed the test
- Date and time of test
- Type of test: molecular, (PCR, ANA, NAAN etc), antigenic, serological or other
- The result: Positive or Negative
You must have taken the test 72 hours or less prior to your flight departure time to Canada. And then keep this result for 14 days.
Also, find out the COVID-19 testing requirements of the countries you want to visit. Because they vary greatly. Thus, some countries do not require any proof, others require a result no more than 48 hours old.
You will need a serological antibody test for some. For others you can show results from an antigenic test. More information on the subject here: International Travel Document News (IATA). Finally, see if your personal insurance can cover the cost.
The 4 airports designated for international
YUL Montréal-Trudeau - Screening tests
Quebec, like other provinces, does not offer free COVID-19 testing for travel. So we fall back on the private sector. There are five officially accredited laboratories for this purpose. Among them, Biron Santé offers the service at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Fees vary depending on the test. They cost between $149 and $299 and results can be received within 24 hours (or even within an hour for the more expensive ones).
In addition, a new accredited auto clinic, gotestrapide, has just opened its doors with a PCR test whose results are guaranteed in 24 hours for $175 or in less than 7 hours for $350. The antigen test (approved for travel in the United States), is available for $75 with a result in 15 minutes. In addition, there is currently a 15% promotion by adding the code TESTME15.
Health care workers who can show proof of employment get a very substantial discount.
Compare prices before making your choice according to your needs: at home, at the workplace, at the clinic or at the airport. For example, we found a rapid antigen detection test (RADT) for COVID-19 at Lacroix Medical Clinics for $49.
The 5 clinics listed on the Health Canada website are:
YYZ Toronto-Pearson - Testing
As part of a study on COVID-19 testing for international departures, Toronto-Pearson Airport is offering free testing to travellers.
But take the time to read the terms and conditions carefully. Rumour has it that it is easy to transit through this airport to avoid the testing fees charged in other provinces. Let’s clarify that.
- The study suggests making an appointment a few days before leaving for an international trip, as there is a risk of not receiving the results in time if you only show up the same day.
- The result comes within twelve hours. So forget about the transits of a few hours.
- Travellers with stopovers at this airport prior to their international flight cannot participate in the study.
The project is therefore aimed at people who start their journey from YYZ.
Of course, if you plan to spend a day or two in the Queen City, as well as sleep and eat there, before showing up at the airport with your negative test in hand, this may be an option. But plan carefully.
YVR Vancouver - Testing
The Vancouver Airport has a diverse range of testing services.
First, rapid antigenic tests. The service provided by CVM Medical is intended for passengers with a ticket to the United States. But also to the Netherlands, Germany and other countries that require this type of test.
As the screening site is located in the international terminal, passengers must already be checked in. The cost is $150. Please be advised that:
In accordance with Dutch government requirements, travellers to the Netherlands must provide a negative COVID-19 test within four hours prior to check-in time (in addition to the mandatory negative PCR test). Visit the KLM website for more information.
The Ultima Medical Clinic also provides these services for $120, but this time in the domestic terminal.
The LifeLabs FlyClear laboratory program offers other types of tests (PCR/NAA). Their offices are located in the city of Vancouver and in Ontario. The traveler must first order the test for $199 and then schedule an appointment online. He receives the results within 48 hours.
Finally, to find private clinics that provide these services, go here.
YUL Calgary - Testing
Numi Health provides testing at the Calgary Airport for a cost of between $75 and $245. The clinic is in the international check-in terminal.
Travellers to the Netherlands can take advantage of this 15-minute screening test.
Those are the domestic flights that are handled by EIA-Edmonton. If you need a COVID-19 test, you should refer to the same company that serves Calgary at the airport.
Pharmacies - Testing in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia
Air Canada has also entered into an agreement with Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to provide this service.
These different COVID-19 tests are $150 + tax in Alberta, and $199 + tax in Ontario and British Columbia. The result is available within 48 hours, or you get your money back.
Other Canadian airports with testing services
YQR Regina - Screening Tests
Haztech Laboratories is responsible for providing COVID-19 testing at theRegina Airport in Saskatchewan. Costs range from $95 to $250 depending on the type of test and how quickly the results are requested.
YQM Moncton - Testing
COVID-19 testing is also available at the Moncton-YQM airport for both departures and arrivals. In front of the boarding gate, room A102. Prices range from $149 to $299 depending on your needs.
You have to make an appointment online and show up 10 minutes before the scheduled time, but 3.5 hours before the flight. You will receive the result and certificate by email within 72 hours. In fact, they are often obtained within “48 hours” unless you choose the rapid tests. These arrive in less than 30 minutes.
YHZ Halifax - Testing
At Halifax-YHZ, only arriving travellers are eligible for a take-home kit. The PCR test must be performed within 48 hours. Then it is dropped off at one of the dedicated centres. The result will then be sent within 72 hours.
Return from the United States
Finally, if you are traveling to the United States, you will need a PCR or other molecular test (NAAT) 72 hours before your return. Although these tests are free of charge at many Walgreens pharmacies, a US address must be provided in the online application.
In addition, the company specifies that we must show a U.S. driver’s license or ID when taking the test in your car. Will Canadian travellers be accepted in practice, as with vaccination? The test is called the RAPID ID NOW.
I’ll keep you posted on the actual process when I get back from Tennessee in August!
We believe we have covered the main information regarding the prerequisites and modalities for testing upon departure from Canada and upon arrival from abroad.
Several Canadian airports have implemented screening services for travellers for a fee upon departure. The government covers the costs of return testing (once you arrive in the country).
It isnow up to each individual to ensure that they have the type of test required for their destination so that they have proof of it when they board.
Finally, let’s hope that these measures will be eased in the coming weeks. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.
How much does a PCR test cost in Canada?
A COVID-19 PCR test in Canada can be free when covered by the government, and can cost anywhere from $100 to $400 depending on the laboratory and how fast you need the results back.