As we entered a new lockdown period in Quebec up to and including February 8, 2021, some travellers are still preparing to return to Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Government of Canada asked milesopedia to help disseminate the latest traveller requirements in place to protect Canadians from the spread of COVID-19. One of the things I’d like to talk about is the ArriveCAN app, which I tried last November.
COVID-19 Health Measures for Travellers Entering Canada
The COVID-19 screening test
As of January 7, 2021, all travellers entering Canada, aged 5 years or older, are required to submit proof of a negative test to COVID-19 to the airline BEFORE boarding Canada from an international flight.
This measure was long overdue. It will improve the application of the measures and better monitor possible cases of COVID-19.
Chances are that for 2021, while waiting for mass vaccination, COVID-19 testing will become the norm everywhere you go in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The test should be performed using a molecular COVID-19 test. Antigenic tests will not be accepted.
The test must be done within 72 hours of the scheduled departure for Canada. There are some exceptions, such as flights from the Caribbean or South America, where the test must have been done within 96 hours of departure (see Appendix 1 and 2).
Details on the evidence to be provided
The evidence to be provided must be in either paper or electronic format and must include:
- Traveler’s name and date of birth
- Name and address of the facilities who provided the test
- Date of the test
- Method used The two accepted tests are PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and RT-LAMP (Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification).
- Test result (negative, not detected)
If this proof of test is not provided, the air carrier will automatically deny your boarding access to Canada.
Documents with fraudulent test results are available on the market. Do not use them, or you would be subject to fines of up to $5,000, you’d be denied boarding, and additional measures would be taken if the fraud is detected by an officer upon your arrival.
Details of testing facilities
To see if a list of reliable testing facilities is available where you are:
- visit Travel.gc.ca,
- select the country in question from the drop down,
- go to the “Health” tab for a list of medical services and facilities.
Government of Canada offices abroad can also help you find a local resource to get the test.
Details of testing facilities
The main people exempted from testing are:
- children 4 years of age and under;
- transit passengers;
- passengers returning from St. Pierre and Miquelon (until January 14, 2021) and Haiti (until January 21, 2021);
- the airplane crew;
- persons providing essential services;
- persons providing emergency services;
- persons accompanying persons for judicial reasons;
- persons who work for national security or who have a national interest;
- persons who have been granted an extraordinary exemption by Transport Canada.
(Please see this link for more details.)
Mandatory quarantine or isolation for 14 days
Although the COVID-19 screening test is now in effect, it should be noted that quarantine or 14-day isolation is still mandatory. Each traveler to Canada will be required to provide all information regarding their future quarantine when completing the ArriveCAN form.
There is nothing complicated about this quarantine. Once in Canada, you go straight at home and close your door for 14 days! And of course, having taken care of getting your shopping delivered or having prepared food in the freezer before you left. Prepare a good deal of books, playlists and TV series to “clear your mind” after teleworking!
If you return to a home where people have not left on vacation, you must keep your distance and take all precautions (wearing a mask, washing your hands and cleaning anything you touch, etc.) so as not to contaminate the rest of the family.
During your quarantine, you will receive messages, calls and/or a weekly email reminder from government officials to complete the self-assessment of your COVID-19 symptoms.
Your 14-day quarantine or isolation period begins on the day you arrive in Canada, regardless of your arrival time.
The ArriveCAN application
Since November 21, 2020, air travellers are required to provide their travel and contact information, as well as their quarantine plan and a digital self-assessment of their COVID-19 symptoms BEFORE boarding the plane to Canada.
They must submit their form within 48 hours of entering Canada, either:
- via the secure ArriveCAN mobile app,
- via the ArriveCAN website,
- or by calling toll-free at 1-833-641-0343.
The ArriveCAN app is easy to use. Once you have registered, the app will give you a receipt.
It may be a good idea to take a screen shot of this receipt if you do not have access to your phone data during your trip.
If you do not have access to a smartphone, you must register on the ArriveCAN website and create an account. Log in, fill out the form and print the receipt proving that you have submitted all your information. This receipt is important evidence to show the customs officer.
It is imperative that you complete your COVID-19 symptom self-assessment on a daily basis either on the app, on the website or by phone using the automatic service at 1-833-641-0343.
- provides the Government of Canada with updates on your quarantine compliance;
- is a quick and easy way to self-report any symptoms that may appear during your quarantine period following you arrival in Canada;
- does not use any other technology (such as GPS) or data to monitor travellers movements.
Wearing the mask
Naturally, wearing a mask or a face cover is still mandatory for all Canadian and non-Canadian air travellers, from your arrival at the airport to your arrival at your quarantine location, depending on whether you are taking public transit, taxis or are in the presence of persons who have not travelled with you.
Passengers exempted from wearing a mask are:
- children under the age of two;
- people who need help to remove it;
- persons who have a medical certificate attesting that they cannot wear one for medical reasons.
In case of symptoms
If symptoms appear on your trip, don’t hide them. Notify a flight attendant or border services officer immediately to assess your situation and be isolated from other travellers.
Think about your health, but also the health of others.
Message from milesopedia
At the beginning of the year, it is a bit sad to see the public being forced to disclose information. There’s been a lot of criticism of each other lately, and I don’t think that’s the answer. Let’s not look for scapegoats; it’s pointless. Let us work collectively to respect the measures in place in our cities.
A person who travels, whether it’s an essential travel or not (this is not the issue and I do not want this article to lead to a debate once again), is confronted with tough measures upon their return. And there’s a big risk that they won’t respect them, don’t doubt that.
Let’s continue to wear our mask properly to prevent contamination of anyone more fragile than yourself. Studies have shown that it is one of the most effective and easiest measures to implement. And replace your mask frequently!
Let’s continue to support our front-line people. Whether they are doctors, nurses, bus drivers, grocers, manufacturers, we need them, so let’s continue the positive thoughts and actions. Where’s our rainbow saying it’s going to be okay? Let us revive it in hope of better times.
Let’s continue to encourage our local businesses and all the more so with this new lockdown, they need us. While everyone’s income may have been reduced, we saved by not going to restaurants, movies, museums, etc. So let’s treat ourselves to some small pleasures that will help our health, and our local merchants. Why not stay in a local hotel that offers in-room dining? Even for those returning from a trip, it’s possible!
Let’s stay with our usual inner circle and avoid encounters with our elders even if they are alone. There is a strong desire for everyone to hold the grandchildren in their arms or just to see each other, but we know that at the end of the day, they are the ones most at risk of becoming infected and dying. Fortunately, they will soon be vaccinated.
Let us continue to consult with our health care professionals intelligently so that we do not overburden counselling. As a snowball effect, we are all affected by the delays in procedures, in follow-up from young to older patients; it will take time before the health care system (already in poor shape before COVID-19) returns to a proper level.
Let’s continue to leave space between all of us when we’re at the grocery store, walking through our forests, in the lift queue, but also in the security queue at customs, boarding or getting off the plane! Have you ever had a case of someone not respecting the mandatory distance? It is annoying when it is so simple to step back in most cases.
Let’s keep washing our hands as many times as we need to, whether it is getting out of our homes, getting into their cars, grocery stores or pharmacies. Your pharmacist is there to advise you on hand creams if your hands start to cause you pain.
Let’s continue to let children live their childhood to the fullest extent possible so that they do not suffer the consequences of this negative and difficult period. Let us make sure that some kids can continue to receive the help they need. This future generation is certainly already at risk of developing psychological problems because of the year 2020.
Let us hope that 2021 will be known as the year when we defeated the COVID-19 virus once and for all and that the health measures put in place around the world can lead to a safer, more social and more caring environment for the future.
We will continue to publish articles as we have done to inspire you, help you plan your trips, escape or of course earn the points you need for future projects.
Anyway, let’s be positive, we’re going to get there. Even if we don’t return for a few years to a situation equivalent to 2019, let’s trust the vaccine, it’s our best solution now, THE only way out to a more peaceful and hopefully travel-rich future!