Canada has put enhanced new testing and quarantine measures in place around travelers in relation to COVID-19 air travel. It is due to introduce testing on arrival and a mandatory three-night stay in a hotel to await test results.

In addition to the pre-departure testing requirements already in place, travelers entering Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival and book into an approved hotel at their own expense. This is to help prevent air travel as a potential source of further introduction and spread of the virus and its new variants, but the date of implementation for the new procedures hasn't been confirmed. At present, those who receive a negative test result are authorized to enter the country, but must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has listed the criteria for hotels seeking to participate in quarantining returning travelers returning from non-essential trips abroad. They must be privately owned and located near one of the four Canadian airports currently accepting international flights - Vancouver International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

These hotels will be generally be for people who are asymptomatic, have provided a negative pre-departure test result, and are not close contacts of confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. Travelers staying at these hotels may have symptoms of COVID-19 but have tested negative on their pre-departure test, or they may have symptoms that are not related to the virus. The hotels must meet operational guidelines and selection criteria for the purposes of accommodating these travelers while they await their test results.

Thousand Islands National Park, as seen from the sky deck on Hill Island during fall.
Travelers to Canada will have to quarantine for three days at a hotel © Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

The hotel's main responsibilities will be to provide safe transportation of travelers from the airport to the hotel, as well as lodging, contactless meals, telephone and free wi-fi in a safe and accessible environment. They must also set up a process for allowing guests to have brief outdoor breaks, and report daily check-in and checkout numbers, as well as non-compliant guests.

As the government is still searching for hotels that can meet these requirements, it is not certain when the new measures will take effect. Up-to-date information on regulations can be found on the website here.

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This article was first published Jan 5, 2021 and updated Feb 10, 2021.

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