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Canada Resumes Mandatory Covid Tests For Short Trips Across Border

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In response to the significant risks and uncertainties presented by the spread of the Omicron variant in Canada and globally, Canada’s Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos announced on December 17 that further adjustments to travel and border measures would be implemented. The most significant change is the reintroduction of Canada’s requirement for a negative PCR Covid test even for trips of less than 72 hours across the border.

Effective December 21, 2021, at 12:01 am (EST), all Canadians returning from short trips must take a molecular pre-entry test. The rule applies even to fully vaccinated travelers. The test can’t be taken in Canada before you leave. These measures are intended to reduce the transmission of the Omicron variant in Canada and to help provinces and territories slow community spread.

“There is still a lot we don’t know about the Omicron variant, but we do know it is spreading fast. Because we can never be too vigilant when it comes to the safety and health of Canadians, we are updating our travel and border measures and are also working hand in hand with provinces and territories to help slow down the spread of the variant in communities across the country,” said Jean-Yves Duclos.

The news comes less than a month after Canada announced that it would no longer require a negative PCR Covid test for shorter cross-border trips to the U.S.

The government also announced that effective December 18, 2021, at 11:59 pm (EST) the temporary enhanced requirements would end for travellers who have been in Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The press release states that “With the evolving situation and overwhelming evidence of community transmission of Omicron in most countries around the world, including Canada, the Government of Canada has decided to lift the extraordinary measures for travellers returning from the ten specific countries initially listed. While we recognize the controversial nature of this measure, we believe it was necessary to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada and buy us some time. Given the current situation, this measure has served its purpose and is no longer needed.

Similarly, the requirements for Canadians and others with right of entry who have been in or travelled from these countries within 14 days to obtain a valid negative pre-departure molecular test in a third country, and to stay in a designated quarantine facility, upon the direction of a quarantine officer, while they await the results of their arrival test, will also be lifted.”

“The Government of Canada continues to take quick action based on science, to protect the health and safety of Canadians throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We must all work together to contain the spread of Covid-19 and this Omicron variant by following public health advice and getting vaccinated. We will not hesitate to introduce measures, as required, to keep travellers and transportation workers safe,” said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.

The press released also emphasized that ArriveCAN remains mandatory for all international travelers, regardless of how they enter the country or the length of the duration of absence from Canada. All travellers must submit their mandatory information in ArriveCAN (free mobile app or website), including proof of vaccination in English or French and a quarantine plan before arriving in Canada.


In response to the significant risks and uncertainties presented by the spread of the Omicron variant in Canada and globally, Canada’s Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos announced on December 17 that further adjustments to travel and border measures would be implemented. The most significant change is the reintroduction of Canada’s requirement for a negative PCR Covid test even for trips of less than 72 hours across the border.

Effective December 21, 2021, at 12:01 am (EST), all Canadians returning from short trips must take a molecular pre-entry test. The rule applies even to fully vaccinated travelers. The test can’t be taken in Canada before you leave. These measures are intended to reduce the transmission of the Omicron variant in Canada and to help provinces and territories slow community spread.

“There is still a lot we don’t know about the Omicron variant, but we do know it is spreading fast. Because we can never be too vigilant when it comes to the safety and health of Canadians, we are updating our travel and border measures and are also working hand in hand with provinces and territories to help slow down the spread of the variant in communities across the country,” said Jean-Yves Duclos.

The news comes less than a month after Canada announced that it would no longer require a negative PCR Covid test for shorter cross-border trips to the U.S.

The government also announced that effective December 18, 2021, at 11:59 pm (EST) the temporary enhanced requirements would end for travellers who have been in Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The press release states that “With the evolving situation and overwhelming evidence of community transmission of Omicron in most countries around the world, including Canada, the Government of Canada has decided to lift the extraordinary measures for travellers returning from the ten specific countries initially listed. While we recognize the controversial nature of this measure, we believe it was necessary to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada and buy us some time. Given the current situation, this measure has served its purpose and is no longer needed.

Similarly, the requirements for Canadians and others with right of entry who have been in or travelled from these countries within 14 days to obtain a valid negative pre-departure molecular test in a third country, and to stay in a designated quarantine facility, upon the direction of a quarantine officer, while they await the results of their arrival test, will also be lifted.”

“The Government of Canada continues to take quick action based on science, to protect the health and safety of Canadians throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We must all work together to contain the spread of Covid-19 and this Omicron variant by following public health advice and getting vaccinated. We will not hesitate to introduce measures, as required, to keep travellers and transportation workers safe,” said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.

The press released also emphasized that ArriveCAN remains mandatory for all international travelers, regardless of how they enter the country or the length of the duration of absence from Canada. All travellers must submit their mandatory information in ArriveCAN (free mobile app or website), including proof of vaccination in English or French and a quarantine plan before arriving in Canada.

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