Appearance at TRAN: Supplemental Mandate Letter and on the pre-entry testing requirements




The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has put in place successive border measures in response to COVID-19 under the Quarantine Act.


What is the Government doing to protect Canadians at the Canada/United States border? 


  • Canada has established robust border measures, including quarantine and travel restrictions as well as pre-departure testing for travellers to Canada.
  • U.S. citizens are permitted to travel directly from the United States to Alaska and vice-versa for non-discretionary purposes, such as going for work, and returning home.
  • Some U.S. citizens are also permitted to enter Canada for legitimate work purposes, including to provide an essential service, or for compassionate reasons, as specified under the Orders in Council.  
  • U.S. citizens should not be taking the opportunity to travel within Canada for personal or discretionary reasons. This is an enforceable offence, with monetary penalties.


  • As of February 15, 2021, all travellers arriving to Canada by land, with some exceptions, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.
  • We continue to collaborate with partners in the United States to strengthen our border measures and keep our countries safe.


  • At this time, proof of vaccination will not replace other border measures, including the requirement to provide proof of a COVID-19 test result. Individuals who have been vaccinated are still required to quarantine on entry to Canada.
  • A vaccine protects an individual from illness, but we need more evidence to understand if a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus.


  • We recognize that quarantine requirements have a significant impact on Canadians who have just received essential medical services or treatment outside of Canada.
  • Persons who receive essential medical services in another country are now exempt from pre-arrival and pre-departure testing, testing on arrival, and mandatory quarantine requirements, provided certain conditions are met. These include a requirement for a licensed health care practitioner indicating that the medical services are essential.


Between February 3, 2020 and February 14, 2021, the Governor in Council has made 45 Emergency Orders under the Quarantine Act to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Canada – to reduce risks from other countries, to repatriate Canadians, and to strengthen measures at the border to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Canada.

A travel ban is currently in place for most people entering Canada, including:

  • Foreign nationals entering from the U.S., across all modes, for non-essential travel including recreation and/or tourism purposes;
  • Foreign nationals entering Canada if they arrive from a foreign country other than the U.S., with some exceptions, such as those delivering essential services; and
  • Foreign nationals entering from any country with signs or symptoms of respiratory illness.

As of February 15, 2021, travellers five years of age and over entering at Canada’s land ports of entry, unless exempted, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours before their arrival at the border, or proof of a positive COVID-19 test conducted between 14 and 90 days prior to arrival (similar to the existing requirement for pre-departure testing for air travellers).

As of February 22, 2021, all travellers, with limited exceptions, whether arriving by air or land, will also be required to

  • submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before boarding their flight or crossing the border;
  • take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival; and
  • take a COVID-19 molecular test later during their quarantine.

Testing will be on site at 5 of Canada’s busiest land ports of entry as of February 22, 2021.This service will be available as of March 4, 2021 at another 11 land ports of entry.  At land ports of entry with no on-site testing capacity, Border Services Officers will provide two take-home test swabs kits to every traveller.

Cross-border supply chains are vital to ensure the continued flow of goods, including food and medical supplies for all Canadians. As such, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is working with other federal partners to share information with commercial stakeholders to provide assurances that commercial traffic is not impeded.

Border Presence

Canada has 117 land border points of entry, 12 large international airports, 4 commercial marine ports, and 3 rail stations. PHAC has increased the physical presence of its designated officers, including quarantine officers, at 33 points of entry across Canada, including major land borders.