Flying to Canada: COVID-19 testing for travellers

Alternative: Testing for driving to Canada

On this page

  • Getting tested to enter Canada
  • Who doesn’t need a pre-entry test
  • Arrival testing at the airport
  • Complete your Day-10 test kit
  • Flying 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. You don't require a test to fly within Canada.

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

    You must:

    Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result.

    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.

    Who doesn’t need a pre-entry test

    Exempt from pre-entry testing

    At this time, proof of vaccination does not replace a valid test result.

    There are only a limited number of exceptions where an individual is not required to do post-border testing:

    Medical and health care

    Essential work considered exempt under the Emergency Orders

    Other special circumstances

    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.

    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 $3000 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.

    Arrival testing at the airport

    You must take a test before leaving the airport. At that time, you will get a COVID-19 At Home Specimen Collection Kit to use for your test on Day-10 of your mandatory quarantine.

    Following the arrival test, you will need to go directly to your reserved hotel to await test results.

    Exempt from arrival testing

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

    There are only a limited number of exceptions where an individual is not required to do post-border testing:

    Alternative arrival testing

    Some circumstances allow for alternative testing protocols upon arrival.

    A government representative will provide further instruction on arrival for testing.

    Register in advance for your arrival test to save time at the airport

    You will 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:

    It is still possible to register at the airport.

    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 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.

    Arrival test 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:

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

    Positive results on your arrival test

    If you receive a positive result on your arrival test, stay in your room until you receive a phone call from a government representative who will provide further instructions

    Invalid or inconclusive results from your arrival test

    You are required to take another test. The lab that conducted your test will call you to set up an appointment to complete another nasal swab at the hotel. You must stay at the hotel until you have completed your repeat test and have also spoken to a government representative.

    Contact your arrival test provider

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

    Complete your Day-10 test kit

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

    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.

    Switch Health has been hired by the Public Health Agency of Canada to manage all Day-10 COVID-19 test kits for air travellers (with the exception of Alberta).

    You must create an account with them to perform your 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 at 1-647-977-1030 or 1-888-966-6531.

    You must have internet access to:

    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

    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.

    You must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result from the Day-10 test and you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    If you don’t have a Day-10 test kit

    If you didn’t receive a kit, or you lost or damaged your kit, please contact Switch Health to be couriered a kit immediately.

    Phone: 1-888-966-6531 or 1-647-977-1030 or email homekits@switchhealth.ca.

    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-10 place of quarantine.

    If you were advised to go to a designated pharmacy for your Day-10 test (arrival through Calgary International Airport)

    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.

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your 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 once you have completed your mandatory quarantine. The 14-day quarantine period includes the days you spent at your government-authorized hotel.

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

    Day-10 tests must be completed with Switch Health

    Your Day-10 test must be completed using the Switch Health kit provided (see below if you arrived at the Calgary airport). 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.

    If you arrived at the Calgary airport

    You will either get tested at a participating pharmacy, or use a kit, depending on the address of your Day-10 place of quarantine.

    If you were advised to go to a designated pharmacy for your Day-10 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.

    Flying to Canada checklist

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

    Flying to Canada requirements checklist

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