Canadian airports re-introduce random COVID-19 testing on fully vaccinated travellers

Shelby Thevenot
Published: July 20, 2022

After a five-week break, Canada has resumed mandatory random testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air.

Canada paused random testing at airports on June 11, and reintroduced them as of July 19. Testing will resume at the four major Canadian airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto.

Those selected for a random test will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration, explaining how they can arrange for a test. Travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated can complete their tests by virtual appointment or an in-person appointment at select pharmacies and still respect their quarantine requirements.

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If the arrival test result is positive, travellers must go into isolation for 10 days from the date of the test result, even if the province or territory's isolation requirement is shorter.

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travellers must have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before entering Canada.

Testing for air travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will be done outside of the airport, either at an in-person appointment at a testing provider location, or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test. Travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to complete a 14-day quarantine and test themselves on day one and eight.

All travellers must continue to use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada, with few exceptions.

The Canadian government says in a media release that moving testing outside of airports will allow Canada to monitor and respond to new variants and other changes in the epidemiological situation.

"As demand for travel increases across the world, today's announcement marks an important step in our progress to streamline testing processes outside our airports while preventing the further spread of COVID-19," Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in the July 14 release, "The Government of Canada will continue to protect travellers and employees and ensure our transportation system is safe, reliable, and resilient for the long term."

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