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





Date: FEBRUARY 2021

Suggested Responses

  • Canadians are strongly advised to cancel or postpone any travel plans outside Canada. Now is not the time to travel.
  • The Government is looking at ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection and the introduction to Canada of new variants.
  • Testing and quarantine are important elements of Canada's multi-layered approach to combat the virus.
  • On February 12, 2021, the the Government of Canada announced enhanced border measures for people travelling for non-essential purposes. This includes a 72 hour pre-arrival testing requirement at the land border, together with additional COVID-19 testing in Canada – both on arrival and toward the end of the 14-day quarantine.


  • Transport Canada is supporting Canada Border Services and Public Health colleagues in introducing enhanced restrictions at land ports of entry.
  • Transport Canada will not hesitate to take every action to protect essential transportation workers, and support the flow of critical goods.


  • On February 12, 2021, the the Government of Canada announced expanded border measures to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus related to international travel. This includes the introduction of a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) for travellers seeking entry in land mode (effective February 15, 2021), together with two COVID-19 tests in Canada: on arrival and one toward the end of a traveller’s 14-day quarantine (effective February 22, 2021). Travellers may face fines if they do not provide proof of a negative test result on arrival at the border. There will be limited exceptions for exempt travellers such as commercial truckers.
  • In addition, also effective February 22, 2021, travellers arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.
  • Transport Canada is supporting Canada Border Services Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada in the implementation of new land border measures to reduce the risk of importation and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus related to international travel.
  • Since the outset of the pandemic, Transport Canada (TC) has been engaging provincial and territorial partners, as well as surface transportation industry partners (i.e. road and rail freight) on a regular basis to stay abreast of key issues and collaborate on COVID-19 measures. This active collaboration continues as Canada’s response to the pandemic evolves.
  • Together with key federal partners (e.g., Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)), and in consultation with industry stakeholders and unions, TC has implemented a range of measures to support surface transportation in response to COVID-19, including marine workers in the course of their on-shore duties, which include:
    • core definition of essential transportation workers;
    • orders and exemptions to restrict non-essential travel and support critical supply chain operations;
    • controlled shore leave for seafarers onboard foreign vessels;
    • employment confirmation letters to allow essential workers free movement within and across provinces/territories;
    • safety guidance for continued operations; and
  • stakeholder (industry, provincial/territorial, U.S.) engagement.

Testing Pilots

  • TC continues to support PHAC and CBSA in their partnership with the Province of Alberta to implement a COVID-19 border testing pilot program, which launched on November 2, 2020. The pilot involves voluntary COVID-19 testing for incoming travellers subject to quarantine (reduced quarantine period) and essential workers (cyclical testing) at Calgary International Airport (YYC) and the Coutts land border crossing. PHAC is working with Alberta to assess the impacts of the recent border measures announcement on the pilot program.
  • Results from the Alberta pilot, together with lessons learned from other jurisdictional trucker testing efforts (e.g. Ontario), will provide insight that can help inform how to optimally set up testing programs for essential workers and other travellers in the future, including enhanced restrictions at land ports of entry. For additional detailed information on COVID-19 pilot testing at land borders see Appendix.




Date: FEBRUARY 10, 2021



  • On November 2, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada launched a pilot program with the province of Alberta that involves COVID-19 testing for incoming travellers to Canada, including returning Canadians and foreign nationals currently subject to quarantine rules, as well as essential workers (e.g., air crews and commercial truck drivers).
  • The pilot is open to those arriving to Canada on a direct flight to Calgary International Airport, or using the Coutts, Alberta land crossing, and will continue until 52,000 participants have enrolled, which is estimated to take up to 26 weeks. The Government of Alberta has advised that it will meet this target by the end of February. The pilot is completely voluntary and confidential.
  • Volunteers are invited to undergo a PCR test upon their arrival in Canada and until January 25 2021, these participants were eligible to leave the 14 days mandatory quarantine after receiving a negative result. These volunteers would then get retested a week later at a participating pharmacy to reconfirm their negative status. There are over 200 local pharmacies participating in the pilot to facilitate convenient follow-up testing for all individuals involved.
  • However, in recognition of the dynamic nature of the pandemic, and the recent confirmation of the new variants of COVID-19 present in travellers returning to Alberta, changes to the pilot were made effective January 25, 2021. Participants who test negative upon arrival must now remain in quarantine until they receive a second negative test result taken at day 7 or 8.
  • This still means a reduction in quarantine time for travellers who receive negative tests, however, travellers will no longer be able to return to school, daycare, or workplaces outside the home until the 14-day quarantine is completed.
  • Travellers currently exempt from quarantine and planning to stay in Alberta for more than 14 days are being offered testing upon arrival and at day 7-8, on a voluntary basis. Those workers who cross the border frequently (e.g. daily or weekly, like air crew and commercial truck drivers) are offered testing every 3-4 weeks at participating pharmacies.
  • {ATIP removed}
  • {ATIP removed}
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and Transport Canada continue to work with the proponents to ensure its design and execution provide useful evidence for future decision making.


  • Asymptomatic truck drivers may volunteer for COVID-19 testing, should they choose to do so. Testing occurs through regular provincial testing channels. Maximum one test every seven days.


Ontario Trucker Testing Pilot

  • In partnership with the Government of Ontario (Ministries of Transportation and Health), DriverCheck launched a COVID-19 testing pilot of truck drivers (a mobile population with limited access to health care) from July 8 to September 8, 2020.
  • The pilot was designed to provide increased accessibility to testing, delivering cost-effective testing services, better understand the level of testing needed to support long haul cross border truck drivers, and supporting development of provincial testing strategies. Locations for testing across Ontario were targeted for their high cross-border and truck traffic volumes. The pilot locations consisted of an Occupational Health Clinic in Kitchener, Third Party Occupational Health Clinic in Beamsville, Flying J Truck Stops in Ayr, London, Tilbury, Napanee, Fort Erie, and four carrier locations.
  • {ATIP removed}
  • {ATIP removed} The Ministry of Health will use findings from the pilot to inform future provincial COVID-19 testing strategies for truck drivers in Ontario.

New Brunswick

  • {ATIP removed}
  • {ATIP removed}
  • {ATIP removed} Furthermore, New Brunswick truckers are identified as part of a prioritized group - like health care workers and first responders - and can therefore call 811 for priority access to testing.
  • {ATIP removed}
  • {ATIP removed}

Prince Edward Island

  • On May 11, 2020, Prince Edward Island removed the 14-day self-isolation requirements for drivers travelling only to New Brunswick. Additionally, those drivers travelling within Canada and the United States that agreed to be COVID-19-tested weekly or upon their return to Prince Edward Island were no longer required to self-isolate after having received a negative result.
  • Voluntary testing (administered by provincial nurses) was subsequently introduced at border entry points and testing stations within the province. Testing was expanded in the early summer to include Prince Edward Island essential workers who travelled outside the Atlantic bubble. Participants were isolated until their first negative test (24-48 hours), as long as tested every 7 days.