Driving to Canada: COVID-19 testing for travellers

Alternative: Testing for flying to Canada

On this page

  • Getting tested to enter Canada
  • Arrival testing
  • Create a Switch Health account before you arrive at the border
  • Complete your Day-10 test kit
  • Driving to Canada checklist
  • Getting tested to enter Canada

    Pre-entry test requirements

    All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

    There are no exceptions for vaccinated travellers, at this time.

    You must:

    If you’ve recovered from and continue to test positive for COVID-19

    Persons who have recovered from COVID-19 can continue to test positive long after they have recovered and are no longer infectious.

    Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test conducted between 14 and 90 days prior to your entry into Canada.

    Accepted types of tests

    These tests are considered acceptable molecular tests:

    These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample. At this time, proof of having a vaccine will not replace a negative test result.

    Learn more about COVID-19 diagnostic tests

    The Government of Canada will notify travellers should it become mandatory to obtain COVID-19 molecular tests from specific accredited laboratories or facilities.

    Who does not need to take a pre-entry test

    There are only a limited number of exceptions where an individual is not required to show proof of a valid test result:

    General:

    Medical and health care

    Essential work considered exempt under the Emergency Orders

    Cross-border workers and transborder, remote cross-border or geographically-constrained communities

    Cross-border students and people driving them

    Cross-border custody arrangements

    Other special circumstances

    For more information, go to the List of Acts and Regulations and look for information on the Quarantine Act, the Emergency Orders, and the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Group Exemptions that may apply.

    Providing proof of your result

    You must present an accepted test result (paper or electronic proof) which must include:

    You must show proof of your test results even if you:

    At this time, we encourage travellers to make best efforts to have their test performed at a reputable laboratory or testing facility (i.e., one recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization).

    Testing facilities and expenses

    Canadian government offices abroad do not provide medical attention (including administering COVID-19 testing) or cover medical expenses for Canadian citizens abroad. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

    If you don't provide proof of a valid COVID-19 test
    Testing positive or possible exposure within 14 days of your return

    Keep your pre-entry test results for 14 days. In addition, you will be required to isolate and keep your test results for 14 more days if you:

    You must provide proof of your test results, if asked, to any federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government official.

    Fraudulent test results

    All travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions. Providing false information to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada is a serious offence and may result in penalties and/or criminal charges. Foreign nationals who provide false information could also be denied entry to the country and/or be barred from returning to Canada.

    Making a false declaration when entering Canada at the land border, including the presentation of a fraudulent test result, carries the potential of a fine of $3000 under the Quarantine Act for individuals.

    Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada or putting others at risk of a serious communicable disease are offences under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to three years in prison and/or up to $1 million in fines.

    Arrival testing

    If you’re entering Canada at the land border crossing, you’ll get 2 COVID-19 At Home Specimen Collection kits: one to use on the day you arrive in Canada and another to use on Day-10 of our mandatory quarantine.

    Your kits contain all of the instructions.

    Do not open your swab or tube until you are instructed to do so by a telehealth healthcare provider. This can cause contamination, or result in a delay in receiving your test result.

    Create a Switch Health account before you arrive at the border

    Switch Health has been hired by the Public Health Agency of Canada to manage the COVID-19 test kits at all land border crossings. You must create an account with them to perform your test and access your results. Creating your account in advance may save time at the border.

    Use the same email address you used for ArriveCAN.

    If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser or contact Switch Health at:

    Create an account with Switch Health

    Completing your arrival test at the border

    Some border crossings offer on-site services to help you with your test kit. At these locations, you’ll be guided through specimen collection, including how to take a nasal swab yourself and how to package the specimen for testing.

    Create an account with Switch Health in advance to save time at the border. It is also possible to create your account at the border.

    Register to use a testing station at a land port of entry

    Land ports of entry with testing stations

    Completing your arrival test at your quarantine location

    If your border crossing doesn't offer on-site testing, you’ll need to follow the instructions in the Switch Health kit to complete the test at your place of quarantine.

    If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser or contact Switch Health at:

    You must have internet access to:

    Watch a video on how to complete your home test kit

    Login to Switch Health to complete your home test kit

    If you don’t have internet access

    You may contact Switch Health toll-free at 1-888-966-6531 and a customer service representative will be able to create an account for you, and add you to a call-back time slot.

    During your call-back, a nurse will guide you through the home test process over the phone. This includes:

    You may also call Switch Health toll-free at 1-888-966-6531 to receive your test results.

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your arrival or Day-10 test

    All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine by a Screening screening Officer officer to verify your compliance. You are under a legal obligation to take the arrival and Day-10 tests. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act and emergency orders made under this Act is an offence and could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment. If you do not take the tests, you may also be transferred to a designated quarantine facility.

    Getting your arrival test results

    Negative results for your arrival test

    You must remain in your place of quarantine and complete your Day-10 test. You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result on your Day-10 test AND have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    A negative test result usually means you don’t have COVID-19, but it is possible to receive a negative test result when you have already been infected with COVID-19, for example, prior to the development of symptoms.

    You are still required to complete a test on Day-10 of your quarantine.

    Positive results on your arrival test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 14 days beginning on the day you tested positive for COVID-19, which is the day you took the test. A government representative will call you to provide additional details and instructions.

    Invalid or inconclusive results from your arrival test

    You must take another test. Collect another specimen using your Day-10 kit with the instructions providedSwitch Health should courier you a replacement kit, to use on Day-10 of your quarantine.

    You can contact Switch Health by email at results@switchhealth.ca or by calling 1-888-996-6531 or 1-647-977-1030 to make sure the new test kit has been sent.

    Who does not need an arrival test

    There are only a limited number of exceptions where an individual is not required to show take an arrival test:

    Alternative arrival testing

    Some circumstances allow for alternative testing protocols upon arrival.

    A government representative will provide further instruction on arrival testing :

    Complete your Day-10 test kit

    On Day-10 of your mandatory quarantine, follow the instructions in your kit to complete your test.

    Please do not open any of the kit components until you are instructed to do so by a telehealth healthcare provider, as this can cause contamination, or result in a delay in receiving your test result. You may open the kit to review the instructions and serial number, which is required for registration.

    If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser or contact Switch Health at:

    You must have internet access to:

    Watch a video on how to complete your home test kit

    Login to Switch Health to complete your home test kit

    If you don’t have internet access

    You may contact Switch Health toll-free at 1-888-966-6531 and a customer service representative will be able to create an account for you, and add you to a call-back time slot.

    During your call-back, a nurse will guide you through the home test process over the phone. This includes:

    You may also call Switch Health toll-free at 1-888-966-6531 to receive your test results.

    Day-10 tests must be completed with Switch Health

    Your Day-10 test must be completed using the Switch Health kit provided. You must stay in quarantine until you have received a negative test result using the kit provided AND your 14-day quarantine period is complete.

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your Day-1arrival or Day-10 test

    All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine by a Screening Officer to verify your compliance.

    You are under a legal obligation to take the arrival and Day-10 tests. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act and emergency orders made under this Act is an offence and could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment. If you do not take the tests, you may also be transferred to a designated quarantine facility.

    Day-10 test results

    Negative results for your Day-10 test

    You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your Day-10 test AND you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    Positive results on your Day-10 test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 14 days that begins from the time you took the test with positive results (i.e. date/time of specimen collection). A government representative will call you to provide you with additional instructions.

    Invalid or inconclusive test results on your Day-10 test

    If you receive an inconclusive result on your Day-10 test, you must complete another test.

    Switch Health should automatically courier another test kit to you. Contact them by email at results@switchhealth.ca or by calling 1-888-996-6531 or 1-647-977-1030 right away to ensure a kit has been sent.

    You must stay in quarantine until you receive a negative result from your repeat test and you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    If you don’t receive the results from your Day-10 test

    If you have not received your Day-10 test result, contact Switch Health directly by email at results@switchhealth.ca or by calling 1-888-996-6531 or 1-647-977-1030.You must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result and you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    Driving to Canada checklist

    In addition to testing, you must meet quarantine and reporting requirements when coming to Canada.

    Driving to Canada requirements checklist

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