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Canada Re-Establishes Mandatory Random Testing for Air Travelers

Canada's flag waves above a customs sign.

Canada is re-establishing mandatory random COVID-19 testing offsite of airports for air travelers, a move that follows a brief pause that was part of a broader strategy to transition testing for air travelers outside of the airports. 

Mandatory random testing will resume July 19 for air travelers qualifying as fully vaccinated to the four major Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto. To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler to Canada, travelers must be vaccinated with Canadian government pre-approved COVID-19 vaccines for the purpose of travel at least 14 days before entering Canada. 

"As we have said all along, Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence.,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of health, in a statement announcing the move. “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.”  

Unvaccinated Get 14-Day Quarantine

All testing, including for the fully vaccinated, partially or unvaccinated, will be completed outside of airports, either by in-person appointment at select testing provider locations and pharmacies or virtual appointments for self-swab tests. This is to be able to monitor and quickly respond to new COVID-19 variants or changes to the epidemiological situation. Travelers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, unless exempt, must continue to test on day one and day eight of a mandatory 14-day quarantine, according to the Canadian government. 

If arrival test results are positive, a ten-day isolation is required, regardless of the isolation requirement from country or province of origin.

"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,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport, in a statement. “The government of Canada will continue to protect travelers and employees and ensure our transportation system is safe, reliable, and resilient for the long term.” This information is based off a press release from the Government of Canada. 

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Annie Smith Barkalow

Annie Smith Barkalow is a content intern with Meetings Today and a full-time student at Mount Mercy University, where she serves as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Times.