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Border rule change: Random COVID-19 testing of travellers returns at four Canadian airports

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On Tuesday, mandatory random COVID-19 testing has resumed for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada by air at the four largest Canadian airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

"As we have said all along, Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence," a statement from Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, from July 14 reads.

"We need to keep border testing measures in place because that is how we track importation of the COVID-19 virus, and of new variants of concern. We will keep adapting our border measures to balance the need to protect Canadians while supporting our economic recovery."

How will the COVID-19 testing be conducted?

All COVID-19 testing of travellers will be completed outside of the airports, either through an in-person appointment at a testing provider location or pharmacy, or through a virtual self-swab test appointment.

Travellers who are selected for mandatory random testing will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration. That email will contain information to arrange their testing.

Who is considered fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated travellers have been vaccinated with a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Canadian government at least 14 calendar days before arriving in Canada.

While third and fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across Canada, fully vaccinated travellers have received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccines (or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated, unless exempt, must continue take a COVID-19 test on Day 1 and Day 8 of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers can complete their tests by a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment with the test provider or at select pharmacies, and still adhere their quarantine requirements.

All travellers must use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information, including vaccination information within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada.

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