COVID-19 testing for travellers

On this page

  • Getting tested to enter Canada
  • Arrival testing
  • Complete your test kit
  • Test results
  • Checklist to enter Canada
  • 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. You don't require a test to fly within Canada.

    There are no exemptions to pre-entry testing for fully vaccinated travellers.

    If you're driving to land border crossing, you must take a test in the United States within 72 hours of your planned entry into Canada.

    If you're flying to Canada, you must take a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada. Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result.

    All travellers 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 scheduled flight.

    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.

    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, travellers should 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

    Select the country you’re coming from. Not all countries have testing facilities information available yet.

    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 an additional 14 days if at any time during your quarantine 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 boarding a flight to Canada, including the presentation of a fraudulent test result, carries the potential for up to $5,000 in administrative monetary penalties under the Aeronautics Act, in addition to a fine of $5000 under the Quarantine Act, if the same false document is also presented upon entry into Canada.

    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.

    Who doesn’t need a pre-entry test

    Fully vaccinated travellers still have to do a pre-entry test.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from the pre-entry test requirement

    Arrival testing

    Create an account for arrival testing

    Depending on where you enter, there are different testing providers.

    You can create an account in advance to save time at the border.

    Use the same email address you used for your ArriveCAN account.

    Airport test providers

    You may be required to get tested before exiting the airport. To speed you through testing at the airport, we encourage you to register in advance with the testing provider:

    Land border test providers

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

    If your border crossing has a testing station, to save time, create an account in advance with the testing provider for your border crossing.

    Land border crossings with testing stations
    Testing stations
    Border crossing Testing provider
    Abbotsford-Huntingdon, BC LifeLabs
    Douglas, BC LifeLabs
    Pacific Highway, BC LifeLabs
    Coutts, AB SwitchHealth
    Emerson, MB SwitchHealth
    Ambassador Bridge, ON SwitchHealth
    Fort Erie (Peace Bridge), ON SwitchHealth
    Lansdowne (Thousand Islands Bridge), ON SwitchHealth
    Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, ON SwitchHealth
    Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, ON SwitchHealth
    Sarnia (Blue Water Bridge), ON SwitchHealth
    Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, ON SwitchHealth
    St-Armand/Philipsburg, QC SwitchHealth
    St. Bernard de Lacolle (Highway 15), QC SwitchHealth
    Stanstead, QC SwitchHealth
    St Stephen 3rd Bridge, NB SwitchHealth

    Taking your arrival test

    When you enter Canada, you'll be instructed to either take an arrival test at the border, or receive a home test kit.

    If you don’t qualify as fully vaccinated, you will also get a kit to use on Day-8 of your mandatory quarantine (except for travellers who are only passing through on their way to or from Alaska).

    There is no fee for the arrival test.

    Airport arrival testing

    You must take a test before leaving the airport. At that time, you may get a home test kit to use for your test on Day-8 of your mandatory quarantine.

    Following the arrival test, unless you qualified for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, you will need to go directly to your reserved hotel to await test results.

    Travellers who qualified for the fully vaccinated exemption can travel on to their destination including taking connecting flights.

    Land border arrival testing

    If your border crossing doesn't offer on-site testing, or you decide not to use the on-site testing station, you’ll need to follow the instructions in your home test kit to complete the test at your destination.

    Complete your home test kit

    Who doesn’t need an arrival test

    Fully vaccinated travellers still have to do an arrival test.

    Travellers who provide a positive COVID-19 test result may be exempt from arrival testing.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from the arrival test requirement

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete the testing requirements

    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-8 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.

    Complete your test kit

    Your kit contains all of the instructions.

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

    For additional instructions, or contact information for your service provider, select your province, territory or state:

    Travellers driving between Alaska and the continental United States

    If you’re driving between Alaska and the continental United States and you come through a border crossing without a testing station, you must:

    Follow the instructions provided to find a drop-off location along your route.

    British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon

    LifeLabs manages all COVID-19 test kits for arriving travellers.

    If you haven't already done so, you must create an account to perform your home test and access your results. You must 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 LifeLabs.

    You must have internet access to:

    Wait to connect to a LifeLabs technician before you open the test tube.

    If you don’t have internet access

    Contact LifeLabs and a customer service representative will be able to advise you.

    Collection can be done over the phone, if needed.

    In British Columbia, staff are available at select locations to perform the test for you.

    You may bring your test kit and:

    Contact LifeLabs to receive your test results.

    Tests must be completed with LifeLabs

    Your test must be completed using the LifeLabs kit provided. If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you must stay in quarantine until you have received a negative test result, AND your 14-day quarantine period is complete.

    If you don’t have a test kit

    Contact LifeLabs if you didn’t receive a kit, or you lost or damaged your kit.

    Invalid or indeterminate test results

    If you receive an indeterminate result on your test, you must complete another test. LifeLabs should automatically courier another test kit to you.

    Contact LifeLabs right away to ensure a kit has been sent.

    If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, 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

    Contact LifeLabs directly if you haven't received your test result.

    If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your test and you have completed your full 14-day quarantine.

    Drop off location information for travellers in Saskatchewan

    In Saskatchewan, you can arrange to drop off your sample the same day or within the next day at any one of the participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations. Before your visit to Shoppers Drug Mart, please ensure you call to confirm the store hours. If you arrive at a participating Shoppers Drug Mart location with a pre-packaged sample to drop off, please go directly to the pharmacy department and speak to a team member there to ensure your sample is shipped for testing. Visit LifeLabs for more information.

    OR

    You can book an appointment for a curbside pickup at any one of the participating patient service centers by calling the LifeLabs Saskatchewan customer support center at 1-888-333-0222. Upon arrival, call the patient service center and a Lifelabs team member will come outside to collect your pre-packaged sample.

    No FedEx pick-up in your area?

    If you didn’t qualify for a FedEx pick-up, you can contact LifeLabs to make alternative courier arrangements or arrange to drop off your sample at a participating location.

    LifeLabs: Pick-up or drop off of collection

    Contact LifeLabs

    Phone

    Email

    Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

    Switch Health manages all Day-8 COVID-19 test kits for travellers with the exception those arriving at the Calgary airport.

    If you arrived at the Calgary airport

    You will either get tested at a participating pharmacy, or use a Switch Health kit, depending on the address of your day 8 place of quarantine.

    If you were advised to go to a designated pharmacy for your test

    You’re allowed to leave your place of quarantine to get this test. You must go directly to the pharmacy, without making any stops along the way, using private transportation or a taxi to and from the pharmacy. You must immediately return to your place of quarantine after completing your test.

    If you have questions about getting tested at the pharmacy, please contact Alberta Health Services at borderpilot@gov.ab.ca.

    If you haven't already done so, you must create an account to perform your home test and access your results. 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.

    You must have internet access to:

    Wait to connect to a Switch Health nurse before you open the test tube.

    Watch a video on how to use your home test kit

    Log in or create a Switch Health account to use your home test kit

    If you don’t have internet access

    Contact Switch Health 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:

    • taking a nasal swab
    • packaging the sample
    • arranging a courier to pick up the sample for delivery to the laboratory

    Contact Switch Health to receive your test results.

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

    Tests must be completed with Switch Health

    Your test must be completed using the Switch Health kit provided. If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you must stay in quarantine until you have received a negative test result, AND your 14-day quarantine period is complete.

    If you don’t have a test kit

    Contact Switch Health if you didn’t receive a kit, or you lost or damaged your kit.

    Invalid or indeterminate test results on your test

    If you receive an indeterminate result on your test, you must complete another test. Switch Health should automatically courier another test kit to you.

    Contact Switch Health 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 test

    Contact Switch Health directly if you haven't received your test result.

    You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your test and you have completed your full 14-day quarantine.

    Contact Switch Health

    Phone

    If you haven’t received your test results, phone or email results@switchhealth.ca

    Who doesn’t need a Day-8 test

    Fully vaccinated travellers arriving to Canada, who meet all the criteria, no longer need to take a Day-8 test.

    Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated

    Alaska: If you are driving between Alaska and continental United States, you won't receive a Day-8 test kit, as you don't need to submit one.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from Day-8 test requirements

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your Day-8 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-8 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.

    Test results

    Arrival test results

    Travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

    If you qualified for the fully vaccinated exemption, you’re not required to quarantine until you get your results.

    Negative results on your arrival test
    • follow local public health measures
    • maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada
    • keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
    Positive results on your arrival test
    • isolate yourself from others right away
    • you will be contacted by your local public health authority
    • follow their instructions
    • keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
    Hotel stopover: getting your results
    Negative results for your arrival test

    If you receive a negative result on your arrival test, you may check out of the hotel and go directly to your quarantine location to complete the remainder of your quarantine. You must have a suitable plan for your quarantine.

    This applies if you:

    • receive a negative test result before the end of your 3-night stay
    • need to use a taxi or ride-sharing service, have a private vehicle, or have an onward domestic flight to reach your final destination

    You are still required to complete a test on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    Positive results on your arrival test

    If you receive a positive result on your arrival test, stay in your room. A Public Health Agency of Canada official will call you with instructions. You'll be required to isolate for 14 days from when you took your test.

    Invalid or indeterminate results from your arrival test

    If your test results came back as indeterminate or invalid, stay in your room. Call the Government-Authorized Accommodation Information Line provided in your hotel information package for guidance.

    If you're still waiting for a result

    If you didn't get the results from your test after 72 hours, stay in your room. Contact your test provider. If your test provider is unable to provide your results, call the Government Authorized Accommodation Information Line provided in your hotel information package.

    Contact your arrival test provider

    Tests are performed at the airport by various providers depending on your arrival city.

    • Calgary: Contact Alberta Health Services by email at borderpilot@gov.ab.ca
    • Montreal: Contact Biron by phone at 1-866-382-0287
    • Vancouver: Contact LifeLabs by phone or email
    • Toronto: Contact SwitchHealth by phone or email
    Other place of quarantine: getting your arrival test kit results
    Negative results for your arrival test

    You must remain in your place of quarantine and complete your Day-8 test. You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result on your Day-8 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-8 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 indeterminate results from your arrival test

    You must take another test. Collect another specimen using your Day-8 kit with the instructions provided. Contact your service provider, and ask them to send you a replacement kit, to use on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    If you are completing your mandatory hotel stay, please follow the instructions included in the welcome kit you are provided.

    Day-8 test results

    Negative results for your test

    You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your Day-8 test AND you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine. The 14-day quarantine period includes the days you spent at your government-authorized hotel.

    Positive results on your 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.

    Checklist to enter Canada

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

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