COVID-19: Guidance Material for Air Operators Managing Travellers to Canada at International Airports

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Managing Travellers coming to Canada from International Airports

This guidance material is intended to provide recommendations and guidance on the operationalization of the following official documents:

Transport Canada’s Interim Order:

Public Health Agency of Canada’s Emergency Orders:

Important Caveat: Nothing in this guidance document supersedes any requirement or obligation outlined in the Interim Order or Emergency Orders. It is meant to complement these legal documents and provide recommendations on guidance on how to understand and carry out the requirements.

Overview

This guidance material, dated February 22, 2021, replaces the February 1, 2021 version. This iteration includes the following updates:

  1. The addition of the notification requirement to advise travellers of the requirement to have a pre-paid hotel booking at a government approved accommodation upon arrival in Canada;
  2. Information and resources for air carriers to use to inform travellers to facilitate their travel journey given the enhanced arrival testing measures (see section on Arrival Testing);
  3. Update to the definition of a face mask (removed the reference to “face covering”) throughout the document; and
  4. Administrative/formatting changes to better organize the document.

Recommended Sequencing for Air Operators

Step 1. Notification and Confirmation Process – The following notifications can take place where the air carrier feels it best fits their particular business model, prior to boarding; however, Transport Canada recommends this to be conducted during the online or in person check-in process. In an effort to reduce the situation where travellers may be denied boarding, Transport Canada is recommending that air operators publish on their websites early notifications to remind and alert those considering flying what they can expect on their journey, as per the requirements below.

AIR OPERATORS must notify every traveller of the following:

  1. Prior to boarding a flight to Canada (unless otherwise excepted) the traveller is obligated to provide proof of a molecular COVID-19 test result (e.g. a PCR or RT-LAMP test). Refer to the Section on Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing and Annex A2: Pre-Board Announcement).
  2. As of February 22, 2021, prior to boarding an aircraft for Canada, the traveller will be required (unless exempt) to provide evidence of a pre-paid accommodation at a government approved hotel for 3 nights, beginning on the day that they enter Canada. In the case that they are not required to have a pre-paid hotel booking, they are to provide their contact information. If the traveller fails to comply with this requirement, they may be liable to a fine.

    Note: while there is no formal requirement on the air carrier to notify travellers that they will be subject to a COVID-19 test once they arrive in Canada, having this information will help facilitate the traveller’s journey. The example material that has been provided (pre-board announcement (Annex A1); In-flight announcement (Annex A2) and sample email (Annex A3) include mention of the arrival testing, to increase awareness and inform travellers).
  3. Travellers must digitally submit a suitable quarantine plan which includes their travel and contact information, quarantine plan (unless exempt), and health-related questions via ArriveCAN before boarding their flight and failure to do so could result in a fine. (See the detailed section on ArriveCan for further details).
    Note: Travellers who have not submitted the required information digitally through ArriveCAN prior to boarding would still be allowed to board and enter Canada, however they may face fines upon arrival in Canada.
  4. Travellers may not be permitted to board if:
    • they are exhibiting: (1) a fever and cough; or (2) a fever and difficulty breathing; and do not have a medical certificate indicating these symptoms are not related to COVID 19;
    • they have, or have any reason to suspect they have, COVID 19; or
    • they have not been permitted to board an aircraft in the previous 14 days for medical reason related to COVID 19.
      Note: Travellers must be notified that if they knowingly provide any false or misleading information about their health they may be subject to a monetary penalty, up to $5,000.
  5. They may be subject to a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 taken by the provincial or territorial government with jurisdiction at the destination airport for that flight or by the federal government (Annex B provides a summary of the provincial/territorial restrictions).
  6. They must be in possession of a face mask (see Annex C for a description of an acceptable face mask) prior to boarding and must, in general, wear the face mask throughout their entire travel journey and comply with any instructions given by a gate agent, aerodrome security or crew member with respect to wearing the face mask (unless they have a medical certificate stating a medical reason for being unable to wear a face mask - Annex E).
    Note: Some exceptions apply when the person could be endangered by wearing a face mask, briefly when they are eating, drinking or taking oral medications, when the gate agent or crew member authorizes the removal of a face mask to address unforeseen circumstances or special needs or for identity verification.
  7. They must undergo temperature screening prior to boarding the flight to Canada. If the temperature taken indicates an elevated temperature (38 °C and above), they will not be permitted to board a flight to Canada for a period of 14 days, unless the person can provide a medical certificate demonstrating that the fever is not related to COVID-19 (see Annex E for an example certificate). Please refer to the section on Temperature Screening for further details.

Check-in Process: Recommended Operational Approach for Assessing COVID-19 test results:

The following process is recommended for travellers that are travelling directly without a connecting flight, when checking baggage. In order to ensure the smoothest travel journey for travellers and as little operational disruption as possible for air carriers, it is strongly recommended that upon arrival at the airport, travellers present themselves to the check-in counter to provide their COVID-19 test result. The agent at check-in can verify the result against the required criteria (see below) and then either: 1) allow the traveller to continue on their journey; or 2) stop them before they continue onwards and check their bags. This will avoid having to reconcile baggage should a traveller check their bag and then get denied boarding at the gate.

  • Verification of COVID-19 molecular test result: Air operators must verify the COVID-19 molecular test result documentation for the following, unless the traveller is excepted (see section on Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing for more details):
    • Name of the traveller matches the traveller’s identification
    • The test result is negative (note: “not detected” is accepted as equivalent to negative) or positive.
    • If the test result is negative, it must be dated within 72 hours of the scheduled departure flight to Canada.
    • If the test result is positive, it must be dated at least 14 days prior (e.g. the traveller would be eligible to travel on day 15 after their test was administered, since 14 days have passed) but not more than 90 days prior to the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada.
    • If the test result indicates “inconclusive”, this is not acceptable; the traveller is be to denied boarding in this instance.

Note: air carriers do not need to assess the test for any other elements at this time (e.g., whether or not the test results come from an accredited laboratory or clinic). As long as the test seems legitimate, and meets the elements noted above, it should be accepted.

TRAVELLERS must confirm the following to the air operator:

  • They are aware of the Government of Canada travel restrictions and that, to the best of their knowledge, they are not prohibited from entering Canada.
  • In a single confirmation, they must confirm that they: (1) do not have or suspect they have COVID-19; and (2) they have not been denied boarding by an air operator in the previous 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19.

    Note: a competent adult may answer these questions on behalf of a minor or another adult who may require assistance (in a situation where it is required).

  • They are in possession of a face mask that meets the requirements outlined by the Public Health Agency of Canada in Annex C (or have a medical certificate stating a reason why they cannot wear a face mask).
  • They understand that they may be subject to a provincial, territorial or federal government measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 upon arrival at their destination.
  • They understand that they may be refused boarding of an aircraft for a period of 14 days if the temperature screening indicates that they have an elevated temperature, unless they provide a medical certificate (see Annex E for an example certificate) certifying that their elevated temperature is not related to COVID-19.

Step 2. Boarding Process – Observations, Wearing Face Masks and Temperature Screening – Must be conducted prior to boarding the aircraft.

General Process:

During the identity verification process, and as part of the visual observation that a traveller has an appropriate face mask, travellers must be reminded to cover their mouth, nose, and chin with the face mask before going up to the boarding gate counter. After handing over their identity documents and tickets to the air operator representative, the traveller should be asked to step back an appropriate distance, pull down their face mask to briefly uncover their face in order to complete the identity verification. After the identity verification is complete, the traveller can then re-cover their mouth and nose before collecting their documents from the air operator representative. Air operators should also consider pre-boarding travellers who are unable to wear a face mask and making special seating arrangements (e.g., infants and younger children seated next to the window, away from the aisle).

Requirements for AIR OPERATORS:

  • Ensure gate agents and crew members wear a face mask. An exception to the wearing of a face mask applies when the safety of the gate agent or crew member could be endangered by wearing one, when it could interfere with the operational requirements or the safety of the flight or when they are briefly eating, drinking or taking oral medications.
  • Verification of molecular test result: Air operators must verify the molecular test result documentation for the following, unless the traveller is exempt (if this hasn’t been done during the pre-board check-in process):
    • Name of the traveller matches the traveller’s identification
    • The test result is either negative (note: “not detected” is accepted as equivalent to negative) or positive
      • If the test result is negative, it must be dated within 72 hours of the scheduled departure flight to Canada.
      • If the test result is positive, it must be dated at least 14 days prior (e.g. the traveller would be eligible to travel on day 15 after their test was administered, since 14 days have passed) but not more than 90 days prior to the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada.
      • If the test result indicates “inconclusive”, this is not acceptable; the traveller is be to denied boarding in this instance.
  • Note: air carriers do not need to assess the test for any other elements at this time (e.g., whether or not the test results come from an accredited laboratory or clinic). As long as the test seems legitimate, and meets the elements noted above, it should be accepted.
  • Observe whether travellers boarding the flight exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and deny boarding to those who exhibit a fever and a cough or a fever and difficulty breathing, unless they have a medical certificate identifying the symptoms are unrelated to COVID-19.
  • Verify that every traveller boarding the flight is wearing a face mask, unless exempt (refer to Annex C for more details). Some exceptions apply when the person could be endangered by wearing a face mask, when they are briefly eating, drinking or taking oral medications, when the gate agent or crew member authorizes the removal of a face mask to address unforeseen circumstances or special needs or when a gate agent, member of the aerodrome’s security personnel or a crew member authorizes the removal of the face mask for identity verification.
  • Deliver the pre-board announcement (Annex A1).

Temperature Screening

Every person boarding the aircraft must undergo temperature screening. This can be done by the air operators themselves, or by an authorized person as outlined in the Interim Order.

Requirements Concerning Temperature Screening conducted by the AIR OPERATOR:

An air carrier must take the temperature of each traveller before they board an aircraft for Canada use equipment, which is compliant with the Transport Canada standard and following the procedures (see Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards), in order to verify whether the person has a fever (temperature 38° C or greater). An exception applies to the temperature screening for infants and those with medical certificate indicating that their symptoms are not COVID-19 related (see Annex E for an example medical certificate).

If the person has a fever:

  • A second temperature screening must be conducted using equipment which is compliant with the Transport Canada standard and following the procedures (See Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards);
  • If the person’s second temperature screening is below 38°C, they should be permitted to board;
  • If the person’s second temperature screening is 38° C or greater, they must be denied boarding and notified that they cannot fly to Canada for 14 days unless they provide a medical certificate that indicates that the fever is not linked to COVID-19 (see Annex E for an example certificate).

AIR OPERATORS must:

  • use equipment to conduct the temperature screening of every person before the person boards the flight to Canada;
  • calibrate and maintain the equipment that they use to conduct temperature screenings;
  • ensure that the person using the equipment to conduct temperature screenings has been trained to operate the equipment and interpret the data the equipment produces;
  • keep a record of the following information in respect of each flight it operates and retain it for a period of 90 days after the day of the flight (see Annex D for more information on requirements for retention of information by air carriers):
    • the number of travellers who are refused boarding;
    • the date and number of the flight;
    • the make and model of the equipment that was used to conduct the temperature screenings;
    • the date and time that such equipment was last maintained and calibrated, including the name of the person who performed the maintenance and calibration; and
    • the results of the last maintenance and calibration of the equipment, including any corrective measures taken.
  • keep a record of the name of every person who has received training as well as the contents of that training for a period of 90 days;
  • make the records available to the Minister upon request; and
  • take temperatures of travellers heading into Canada and must collect and retain personal information in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Temperature Screening of Crew – once per calendar day

In accordance with Transport Canada’s Interim Order, in the instance where a crew member is departing on an outbound flight from Canada, and is returning on an inbound flight from the US or elsewhere internationally within the same calendar day, they only need to have their temperature taken once, at the beginning of their shift prior to boarding their outbound flight. This will lighten the burden on air carriers to have the crew undergo a temperature screening more than once in a day.

Note: This exception is in accordance with Transport Canada’s Interim Order. It should be noted that if the aerodrome outside of Canada does not acknowledge this exception, the crew member is required to comply with the local policy, and may be required to undergo temperature screening before returning to Canada, despite having been screened in Canada at the beginning of their shift.

Temperature Screening by an Authorized Person (other than the air carrier)

As indicated in the Transport Canada Interim Order, there is now a provision that allows air carriers to have the temperature screening procedure carried out by a third party, which is referred to as an authorized person.

For the purposes of this section, an authorized person means a person who is authorized by the State (competent authority) to conduct temperature screenings at an aerodrome located outside of Canada. The authorized person could be, as an example, any Governmental Department (such as the Health Department), the screening authority, aerodrome authorities, or others as identified by regional public ministries of health.

Temperature screening undertaken by an authorized person, instead of the air carrier, in another country would be accepted by Transport Canada as long as the following obligations in the Interim Order are met:

  • Before boarding an aircraft, each traveller is subjected to temperature screening using either a thermal camera or an IR handheld thermometer; and
  • The equipment used to conduct the screening meets a standard outlined in section 3(b) of the Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards or an equivalent standard that has been approved by Transport Canada; and
  • Travellers are notified that if they have an elevated temperature they must not board an aircraft for Canada for the next 14 days.

Note: the onus is on the air carrier to be able to provide enough information to Transport Canada to be able to definitively assess if the equipment being used by the authorized person does in fact meet the standard.

Additional Process Information:

Taking the Temperature:

In the case where an authorized person (other than the air carrier) conducts the temperature screening, should an elevated temperature be detected during the initial reading, a secondary screening may not be conducted. The traveller will be denied boarding and notified that they are not permitted to board an aircraft to Canada for the next 14 days, unless they present a medical certificate (see Annex E). It should be noted that local authorities may also be conducting other activities to assess the health of travellers such as additional temperature screening, consultations with a medical teams, among other local health policies to prevent the transmission of COVID 19.

Alternative Compliance to the Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards

It is the responsibility of the air carrier to demonstrate that the authorized person is either using equipment that meets Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards or an equivalent standard that has been approved by Transport Canada. In the case where an authorized person is seeking to use an alternative piece of equipment to what is identified in the standard, they should submit key information (documentation) on the device specifications (including, but not limited to: indicating if it is a non-contact device, the minimum temperature range, digital display capacity, the accuracy range, maximum screening time, and type of battery) to AviationSecurity-Sureteaerienne.TC@tc.gc.ca. Please also provide contact details where you can be reached as Transport Canada may follow up for additional details at any time in order to make a full assessment. Transport Canada will reply, by email, with a response after evaluating all information that was submitted.

Inability to demonstrate authorized person’s equipment meets the standard:

Should an air carrier not be in a position to provide information that demonstrates that the equipment being used by the authorized person does in fact meet the standard outlined in section 3(b) of the Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standards or an equivalent standard that has been approved by Transport Canada, the temperature screening requirement must be carried out by the air operator, in accordance with the Interim Order. This is also the case if Transport Canada assesses the information provided by the air carrier and determines that it does not meet the standard; the air carrier would then be responsible for conducting the temperature screening themselves prior to boarding, following the steps outlined in: Requirements Concerning Temperature Screening conducted by the AIR OPERATOR.

Elevated Temperature:

The Transport Canada Screening Standard defines an elevated temperature as 38°C or greater. The specific local authority may have a higher standard (which means a lower actual temperature threshold) for the definition of an elevated temperature which exceeds that of the Transport Canada Temperature Screening Standard (for example they may define an elevated temperature as 37°C or higher, instead of 38°C or higher). In this case, whichever standard is higher will be used to assess the registered temperature of the traveller.

Notification to the Traveller:

It is mandatory that each traveller is notified that should their temperature screening register a temperature that is deemed elevated, they must not board an aircraft to Canada for the next 14 days. This notification can take place before or after the temperature screening actually takes place; the requirement which air carriers must ensure is met is in the end that the traveller is made aware of the fact that should they be found to have an elevated temperature, they cannot board an aircraft to Canada for the next 14 days.

Medical Certificate:

It is important to note that Transport Canada will accept that if a traveller has a medical certificate (Annex E) indicating their elevated temperature is not related to COVID-19, they will not be denied boarding based on the temperature reading, however other countries may have different policies. Travellers are advised to plan ahead if they are planning to travel overseas.

Step 3. Denial of boarding

With regards to verification of the pre-departure COVID-19 test: In the event one of the following occurs, the air operator must deny boarding to a traveller unless otherwise exempt:

  • The Name of traveller does not match the traveller’s identification
  • The test result is negative but not within the valid testing window of within 72 hours of the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada;
  • The molecular test result is positive but outside the valid testing window of at least 14 days but not more than 90 days from the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada (e.g. you would deny boarding if the traveller had a positive test administered less than 15 days (which is 14 days or less) or more than 90 days from their scheduled departure to Canada);
  • The test result is inconclusive;
  • The test result is not for a molecular test; and
  • The traveller refuses to provide proof of a test.

Note: travellers are NOT to be denied boarding if they do not have a hotel booking for a government approved accommodation or if they have not submitted their contact and quarantine information through the ArrivCAN app; this will be handled by public health officials upon arrival.

The following remains in effect:

In the event that the air operator observes that the air traveller has COVID-19 symptoms the air operator will be required to refuse to board the person for travel for a period of 14 days or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the symptoms that the person is exhibiting are not related to the COVID-19 virus.

  • Unless a medical certificate is provided, the air operator is also required to deny boarding if the air traveller:
    • refuses to answer questions on the health check;
    • does not have a removable face mask in their possession (see Annex C for guidance on face masks); or
    • refuses to comply with an instruction given by a crew member or gate agent with respect to wearing a face mask. 
  • The air traveller may also be denied access to the restricted area, by the screening authority, due to an elevated temperature which means that the person would not be able to board their flight.

If a denial of boarding situation occurs, the AIR OPERATOR should follow these steps:

  • Provide explanation for future travel – Air operators will explain to air travellers who are denied boarding, based on the health check, observation of symptoms or elevated temperature, that they will need to wait a full 14 days before they are able to fly (e.g., they would be eligible to fly on day 15) or that they will need to provide a medical certificate indicating the symptoms that they are exhibiting are not related to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Advise air travellers to follow local health authorities related to COVID-19 – Air operators should advise air travellers who have been denied boarding, due to indicating or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, to follow the guidance/direction from their provincial/territorial health authorities for dealing with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Inform air travelers that, the Government of Canada provides consular service to Canadians abroad. Canadian government offices abroad do not provide medical attention (including administering COVID-19 testing) or cover medical expenses for Canadian citizens abroad, but can provide direction to resources.  Please refer to information about Canada’s Consular services on travel.gc.ca: About Consular Services.
  • Encourage Canadians travelling abroad to register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad if they have not done so already. This service enables Canadians to receive important safety updates from the Government of Canada.

Step 4. In-flight – To be conducted as appropriate and in accordance with the Interim Order:

  • AIR OPERATORS require crew members and travellers to wear face masks during the flight (see Annex C for exceptions). An exclusion applies to some persons when they are on the flight deck (e.g. pilots, flight engineers or flight attendants, TC inspectors, a person providing service who has expertise related to the aircraft). An exception also applies when the safety of the crew member or traveller could be endangered by wearing a mask, when it could interfere with operational requirements or the safety of the flight, for a brief period when they are eating or drinking (unless a crew member instructs the person to wear a face mask) or taking oral medications.

Note about eating and drinking: Under normal circumstances where an exceptional case does not exist, it would be expected that when a traveller is drinking or eating food they remove their face mask and make every effort to finish drinking their drink or eating their food within a period of no longer than 15 minutes. This is for the traveller’s own safety as well as those around them. While multiple layers have been put in place to make air travel as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking every precaution is essential. That being said, encouraging travellers to have their face masks removed for no longer than 15 minutes, which is defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada as the threshold for “prolonged exposure”, will help reduce the risk of transmission of droplets. Air carriers are encouraged to use this guideline when enforcing this provision, however it is acknowledged that there will be exceptional circumstances that will require some flexibility. It is also suggested that prior to serving any food or drinks in–flight that travellers be reminded that they are only allowed to remove their face mask for a brief period (which could mean 15 minutes or less) to finish drinking or eating, that they must keep their face mask on while waiting for any food or drink, and that a crew member will ask them to put their face mask back on if they feel a “brief” timeframe has been exceeded. Failure to comply could result in a fine for the traveller.

  • If, during a flight, a traveller refuses to comply with an instruction given by a crew member with respect to wearing a face mask, the AIR OPERATOR must keep a record of the following information for a period of 12 months (see Annex D for information on retention periods), and inform the Minister, as soon as feasible (generally expected within 24-28 hours after the incident or sooner), of this record:
    • the date and flight number;
    • the traveller’s name and contact information, including the person’s date of birth, home address, telephone number and email address;
    • the traveller’s seat number on the flight; and
    • the circumstances related to this refusal to comply.

Note: These records must be made available to the Minister upon request, not just immediately following the incident.

Air carriers are not expected to update their systems if the information that is provided does not match; however, every effort to ensure all relevant information is relayed to Transport Canada in a timely manner is appreciated. Ensuring this information related to the incident is as complete and accurate as possible will be essential in facilitating Transport Canada’s ability to conduct a suitable investigation. Having the support and assistance of air operators in the process will be key to ensuring that there is sufficient evidence to take enforcement action, if required.

Step 5. Deplaning process – to be conducted upon landing:

AIR OPERATORS advise travellers that they are required to continue to wear a face mask during the entire deplaning process, until they are outside of the air terminal building. 

Foreign Nationals and Quarantine Act

Purpose

This section is meant to provide guidance to air operators regarding the prohibition of boarding for foreign nationals, which means a person who is not a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident, and includes a stateless person, travelling to Canada as a final destination. The following information is meant to elaborate on the following elements outlined in Transport Canada’s Interim Order and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Emergency Orders pertaining to foreign nationals:

  1. Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing
  2. Arrival Testing
  3. Exemptions: Summary Information
  4. ArriveCAN requirements
  5. Family Reunification: Immediate & Extended Family / Compassionate Grounds
  6. International Students
  7. International Single Sporting Events

1. Requirement for Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing

Air travellers 5 years of age or older are now required to provide proof of a COVID-19 molecular test result to the air carrier prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada, unless exempted. Tests must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular test, such as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Reverse Transcription Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) test (refer to https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying for more details including a list of types of accepted molecular tests). There are two test results, with defined testing windows, that will be accepted:

  1. Negative - a test result that is negative, that was administered within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada (must be 72 hours from the scheduled direct flight to Canada; which means from the final leg of the trip in the case of connecting flights); or
  2. Residual Positive – which means a test result that is positive, that was administered at least 14 days but no more than 90 days (e.g. from day 15 - 90 from the date the test was administered) from the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada (e.g. the passenger previously had COVID-19 but has since recovered, but is still testing positive).

The 72 hour testing window for pre-departure tests
In the case where the traveller presents a negative COVID-19 molecular test result, the test must have been administered no more than 72 hours from the time of the scheduled direct flight to Canada. This means that if a traveller has a connecting flight, the 72 hour window applies to the final leg of their flight (the last point of departure) which is the flight that brings them directly to Canada (as Transport Canada cannot regulate any flight except those flying directly into Canada). If for example a traveller was flying from Paris, France, through Frankfurt, Germany with a final destination of Montreal, Canada, the traveller would need to have a pre-departure test that was administered within 72 hours of their scheduled departure from Frankfurt to Montreal (and not from their scheduled departure time from the origin city, Paris). If for any reason the traveller’s flight gets delayed for issues beyond their control (e.g., bad weather, mechanical issues etc.) the air carriers are allowed to use the originally scheduled departure time as the basis for the 72 hour window as it relates to the pre-departure tests. This means in the example noted above, if the traveller had a test result that was administered 70 hours before their originally scheduled flight from Frankfurt to Montreal, but then their flight was delayed 5 hours due to a winter storm, they would still be permitted to board, despite their test now being 75 hours before their flight to Canada, as they still met the testing window requirement (e.g., original scheduled departure time and not the actual scheduled departure time); the delay was beyond their control.

Information on Residual Positive:
As outlined in the PHAC Emergency Order, Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations), travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are permitted to board a flight to Canada if they can provide proof of a positive test result that is at least 14 days (e.g. from day 15 since test was administered) but not more than 90 days from the initial scheduled departure to Canada (this is referred to as a residual positive). They must also be symptom-free and pass the temperature check, as is the case with all travellers. This provision has been put in place to account for those travellers who previously contracted COVID-19, who have since recovered, but may still have lingering traces of the virus in their system and would still test positive (however are deemed no longer contagious). A traveller that presents a positive COVID-19 test result within the accepted testing window does not need any other supporting documentation at this time; evidence of their positive test within the accepted timeframe (of at least 14 days but not more than 90 days, which means a window of 15-90 days from when the test was administered) is sufficient.

Under no circumstances should travellers who have tested positive COVID-19 and have test results that are outside of the valid testing window (of at least 14 days but not more than 90 days, which means a window of 15-90 days from when the test was administered) should expect to fly or be boarded on an aircraft for Canada. Additionally, in every case the health check will still apply; this means travellers will not be allowed to board if they are symptomatic or do not pass the temperature check (unless they have a medical certificate, refer to Annex E). For further clarity, here is an example for the testing window related to residual positive cases:

A traveller got their test administered January 1st, and a few days later got their results and it was a positive test. They have since recovered and would like to travel on January 15th. Since they have served 14 days since getting their positive test (e.g. Jan 1-14 inclusive) they are then eligible to travel on the Jan 15th. They are not eligible to fly before then, as 14 days has not passed since the day they took the test (which is counted as day 1).

Figure 1 – example of the testing window for residual positives:

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Figure 1 – example of the testing window for residual positives

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Key Data Elements for COVID-19 molecular test results:

The documentation of a laboratory test result must include the following data elements:

  • Traveller Name and Date of Birth (note: age will be accepted when date of birth is not included);
  • Name and civic address of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test
  • The date on which the test was conducted
  • The method of test conducted
  • The test result (note that a test result indicating “not detected” will be considered equivalent to “negative” and a result that states “detected” will be considered equivalent to “positive”; “inconclusive will not be accepted).

Information on Inadmissible Travellers

It is recognized that in some cases when travellers are denied entry at their destination, or while in transit to Canada, it can be virtually impossible to obtain a COVID-19 molecular test, as such would leave the traveller stranded. Air carriers are permitted to board Canadian Citizens, permanent residents, as well as a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act even if they do not have a COVID-19 molecular test result, if they were denied entry to a country or territory and must subsequently board an aircraft to Canada as a result.

Types of Tests: At this time, the Canadian testing requirements are for a molecular COVID-19 test only (such as a PCR or RT-LAMP test). Antigen or antibody tests or other types of test such as Diffractive Phase Interferometry are not accepted. Also, proof of vaccination is not an acceptable alternative to a negative COVID-19 test at this time. While a vaccine protects an individual from illness, further evidence is required to understand if a vaccinated person can still shed virus and infect others around them. Please note refer to the following website for a list of acceptable COVID-19 molecular tests: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying.

The language of the laboratory test result is not specified, however, the Government of Canada is asking that this be presented in English or French where possible. Although a molecular test result (e.g. PCR or RT- LAMP test) that has all of the data elements will be accepted by the air carrier for boarding a flight to Canada, it is important for the traveller to understand that not having their test results in one of Canada’s two official language may cause delays at the border port of entry.

Exceptions: Please refer to section 1.2(2) of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) Emergency Order for a list of persons that are excepted from the testing requirement.

Air Carrier Obligations:

  • Notification requirements: Air operators must notify travellers prior to boarding a flight to Canada of the traveller’s obligation to obtain a molecular COVID-19 test and provide this result to the air carrier prior to boarding, unless otherwise exempted. They should be informed that the test result must be either: negative (and administered within 72 hours of their scheduled departure flight to Canada) or meets the criteria for a residual positive (which means the result is positive AND was administered at least 14 days but nor more than 90 days from their scheduled departure flight to Canada). Please refer to the updated Annex A1: Pre-Board Announcement which now includes this aspect.
  • Verification of COVID-19 molecular test result: Air operators must verify the COVID-19 molecular test result documentation for the following, unless the traveller is excepted (see section on Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing for more details) :
    • Name of the traveller matches the traveller’s identification
    • The test result is negative (note: “not detected” is accepted as equivalent to negative) or positive.
      • If the test result is negative, it must be dated within 72 hours of the scheduled departure flight to Canada.
      • If the test result is positive, it must be dated at least 14 days prior (e.g. the traveller would be eligible to travel on day 15 after their test was administered, since 14 days have passed) but not more than 90 days prior to the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada.
      • If the test result indicates “inconclusive”, this is not acceptable; the traveller is be to denied boarding in this instance.
  • Note: positive tests that fall outside the defined testing window of at least 14 days but not more than 90 days (e.g. constituting a residual positive) are NOT ACCEPTED.
  • Denial of Boarding: In the event one of the following occurs, the air operator must deny boarding to a traveller unless otherwise exempt:
    • The Name of traveller does not match the traveller’s identification
    • The test result is negative but not within the valid testing window of within 72 hours of the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada;
    • The molecular test result is positive but outside the valid testing window of at least 14 days but not more than 90 days of the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada (e.g. you would deny boarding if the traveller had a positive test administered less than 14 days or more than 90 days from their scheduled departure to Canada);
    • The test result is inconclusive;
    • The test result is not for a molecular test; and
    • The traveller refuses to provide proof of a test.
  • Reporting requirements: Air carriers are asked to make best efforts to assess that the test results are authentic, following the typical operating procedures that have developed across the international aviation industry in recent months. If the air operator suspects that a traveller is providing false or misleading information with respect to their COVID-19 molecular test, they must report the traveller’s name and flight information to the Minister of Transport, as soon as feasible (generally expected within 24-28 hours after the incident or sooner). If this occurs, air carriers are asked to contact the Transport Canada Situation Centre, and report on as many details as possible. Key information that would be useful include:
    • the date and flight number;
    • the traveller’s name and contact information, including the person’s date of birth, home address, telephone number and email address;
    • the circumstances related to this situation (e.g. what made the air carrier suspicious that the information was not accurate, any names of witnesses etc).

Traveller Obligations:

  • Documentation showing Proof of Testing: Travellers are responsible for obtaining documentation that demonstrate their COVID-19 molecular test result prior to taking a flight to Canada (including transborder and international last points of departure). The documentation must show that the test performed was a COVID-19 molecular test; if the result is negative it must have been administered within 72 hours prior to scheduled departure of a flight to Canada; or if the traveller meets the criteria for a residual positive they must have a test result that is positive that was administered at least 14 days but not more than 90 days prior to scheduled departure of a flight to Canada.
  • Presentation of documentation: Travellers must present their documentation related to the molecular test results to the air operator as well as to federal officials in Canada responsible for administering the Quarantine Act., upon their request. Failure to present a test result to the air carrier prior to boarding will result in a denial of boarding by the air carrier, and the traveller could face possible fines upon arrival in Canada. The documentation of a COVID-19 molecular laboratory test result must include the following data elements:
    • Traveller Name;
    • Traveller Date of Birth (note: age in lieu of date of birth is accepted);
    • Name of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test;
    • Civic address of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test;
    • The date on which the molecular COVID-19 test was conducted;
    • The testing method; and
    • The test result.

Accredited laboratory: Travellers must ensure that the COVID-19 test result includes all the required data elements. At this time, travellers are encouraged to make best efforts to have their test performed at an accredited laboratory or testing facility (e.g. one recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization). Information is available on https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying#health-check about local COVID-19 testing facilities for certain destinations. The government will notify air operators should it become mandatory for travellers to obtain COVID-19 tests from specific accredited laboratories or clinics.

Implementation challenges and Exceptions:
Air operators should continue to signal to Transport Canada where they or the travellers are encountering the following challenges:

  • COVID-19 molecular tests are not available in a certain country or last point of departure;
  • Obtaining a COVID-19 molecular test result within 72 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure of a flight to Canada is not feasible on a recurrent basis or discrepancies are noted in the Government of Canada list (i.e. not individual traveller case basis, but rather for certain last points of departure on an regular basis); or
  • State/Local/Regional law prevents travellers from obtaining a COVID-19 molecular test (e.g. asymptomatic travellers are not permitted) or from leaving a particular site to obtain a COVID-19 molecular test (e.g., restrictions on movement are in place).

2. COVID-19 Molecular Testing on Arrival

As outlined in the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations), in addition to the pre-departure COVID-19 molecular testing requirement, as of February 22nd, 2021, all travellers (unless exempt) are now required to undergo a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival to Canada, and await their test results in a government approved hotel for up to three nights.
Note: Please see section 1.4 (2) of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) Emergency Order for a list of exceptions to arrival testing.

 

Role of the Air Carrier

As identified in the Transport Canada Interim Order, air carriers are required to notify travellers that they will be required to show proof upon arrival in Canada of a pre-paid booking at a government approved hotel for three nights while waiting for their test results. This notification requirement is the only official requirement of the air carrier as it pertains to arrival testing. There is no requirement to verify proof of hotel bookings or to obtain any kind of passenger confirmation that they acknowledge they are aware of these new requirements. It is recommended, however, that air carriers notify passengers that they will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival as well, unless otherwise exempted. Providing as much information as possible to travellers in advance of their arrival in Canada will assist in facilitating the traveller’s journey. Please refer to Annex A1 – Pre-board notification, which is a sample pre-boarding announcement which now includes messaging on arrival testing; Annex A2 – In-flight messaging to re-emphasize the new measures; and Annex A3 which includes a sample email that air carriers can send their passengers related to the enhanced travel measures.

Hotel Bookings / Pre-registration for Arrival Testing

Travellers are required to have a pre-paid booking at a government approved hotel in advance of their arrival in Canada. Passengers will not be denied boarding if they do not have a hotel booking; however, if travellers arrive in Canada without a hotel booking they can expect significant delays, possible fines and will be subject to direction of Public Health Officials. Travellers should refer to the following website for information on making the hotel reservation before boarding their flight to Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice/mandatory-hotel-stay-air-travellers/list-government-authorized-hotels-booking.html#a1

Travellers are encouraged to pre-register for their arrival test, where possible. Below please find arrival testing pre-registration information for each of the four airports where arrival testing is taking place:

Airport Information / Arrival testing pre-registration link
Vancouver (YVR): Visit this site to pre-register for arrival testing:
https://checkout.lifelabs.com/arrival-registration
Calgary (YYC): There is no link to pre-register for arrival testing. Travellers will be directed to the arrival testing location by government officials upon arrival.
Toronto-Pearson (YYZ): Visit this site to pre-register for arrival testing: https://www.switchhealth.ca/en/travel/pearson/
Montreal-Trudeau (YUL): Visit this site to pre-register for arrival testing: https://info.biron.ca/inscription-yul

Waiting for arrival test results at government approved hotels

While travellers are awaiting their on-arrival test results, they must stay at a government-approved hotel for up to three nights. The costs associated with the hotel stay will be at the traveller’s expense (noting that the costs will be higher than average as it accounts for the room, food, cleaning, infection prevention and control measures, security and transportation). The contract will be between the hotel and the traveller; the cost may differ between hotels. In order to get to the government approved hotel from the airport, travellers may take their own private vehicle (as long the vehicle was already at the airport) or use the transportation arranged by the hotel.

While quarantining at the hotel, if the traveller obtains a negative arrival test result, they will be able to leave the hotel to travel to their approved final place of quarantine to carry out the remainder of their 14 day quarantine (this includes taking public transportation to get to their approved quarantine location, while following all public health measures). If the arrival test result is positive, travellers will be required to immediately quarantine in a designated government quarantine facility for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period. In every case, all travellers will have their quarantine plans reviewed by a government official and, if the plan is not suitable, the traveller will be required to quarantine in a federally designated quarantine facility or other suitable location to isolate for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period.

Note: failure to comply with any requirement under the Quarantine Act could lead to imprisonment and/or fines. For further details, please refer to: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/isolation#exemptions

Transiting Travellers

Travellers who are transiting through Canada, who do not physically cross a border entry point, thus remaining in the sterile area, are not subject to arrival testing. If travellers do cross a border point and enter Canada, they will need to undergo an arrival test and stay in the government approved hotel for up to three days while they await their test results. Once they receive their test results, and if their result is negative, they will be able to proceed with their travel (this includes taking a public transportation, including taking a flight elsewhere in Canada). In the case where a traveller unexpectedly has to enter Canada due to unforeseen delays or cancellations of their connecting flight they may be exempt from arrival testing and the requirement to quarantine at a government approved hotel; however, they may be required stay at a near-by hotel and quarantine until their next flight. They will be referred to Public Health Officials for further direction.

Residual Positives

Those who present a positive COVID-19 test that is within the testing window for a residual positive (e.g. at least 14 days – which means eligible as of day 15 - but not more than 90 days) are exempt from the arrival testing. Upon arrival in Canada, they will be referred to a Public Health Officer for further direction. It should be noted these travellers are not exempt from quarantine upon arrival in Canada; they are to proceed directly to their suitable place of quarantine after leaving the airport (they do not need to stay at a government approved hotel since they are not waiting for an arrival test result). They will be permitted to take public transportation to arrive at their final quarantine location, however they must follow all local health policies while in transit (e.g., wearing a mask).

Unaccompanied minors

As outlined in the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) Emergency Order, unaccompanied minors that are travelling to Canada are still subject to pre-departure testing (as long as they are 5 years of age and over), as well as the mandatory 14 day quarantine. They are not subject to on-arrival testing, but will be subject to an alternative testing protocol; more details will be provided by public health officials upon arrival. Unaccompanied minors are exempt from the requirement to stay in a government approved accommodation; they will continue to their final place of quarantine directly from the airport after being processed by Public Health Officials.

Resources for more information:

Background on new measures: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/02/additional-testing-and-more-stringent-quarantine-requirements-for-travel-to-canada.html

Entering Canada by Air during COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/awareness-resources/entering-canada-covid-19.html

Entering Canada by Air during COVID-19 graphic: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/awareness-resources/entering-canada-covid-19/entering-canada-during-covid-19-en.pdf

Travel Wizard: This is a tool that can be used to assist in determining if a traveller can enter Canada. As always, the final determination is made by officials at the port of entry, based on documentation/information presented at that time. https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/wizard-start

General information, please visit: https://travel.gc.ca/

3. Exemptions

With the approval of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVlD-19 in Canada order (Quarantine, lsolation and Other Obligation) the Government of Canada reaffirmed its intent to take all necessary measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. On the air side, these measures include:

  1. Pre-departure testing;
  2. Obligation to file a suitable quarantine plan, contact information, health assessment information and evidence of a government approved hotel booking through the ArriveCan app or website prior to departure;
  3. Post on-arrival testing and subsequent testing later on during the 14 day quarantine;
  4. Staying in a government approved facility while waiting for the post arrival test results; and
  5. Mandatory 14 day quarantine.

However, largely based on the purpose of travel, certain cohorts of people are exempted from some or all of these requirements. Examples of those exempted from all of the requirements include:

  • Essential transportation workers, as part of their work;
  • Emergency workers (e.g. police, fireman) as part of their duties;
  • Government officials (e.g. border officers, law enforcement) as part of their duties;
  • Those who must cross the border on a regular basis for essential medical treatment (with proper evidence); and
  • Asylum seekers/Refugees (exempt from pre-departure testing in air/land and staying in a Government approved facility and instead will be directed to an IRCC specific facility).

While essential transportation workers, including crew members, are exempt from quarantine and testing, they must:

  • continue to follow public health measures;
  • provide their personal contact information through ArriveCAN;
  • wear face masks in public settings;
  • maintain a list of the names and contact information of each person with whom they came into close contact and the locations visited during a 14-day period that begins when they enter Canada;
  • monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19; and
  • respect public health guidance and instructions when travelling and in the workplace.

In addition, there are several cohorts of people that are subject to the pre-departure test, but are exempt from the remaining requirements, including:

  • Those involved in medical care, including health care workers assisting in COVID-19 response;
  • Technicians or specialists engaged in in maintaining, repairing, installing or inspecting equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure;
  • Amateur athletes involved in a competition; and
  • Compassion reasons (e.g. funeral, end of life care).

Furthermore, Seasonal Agricultural Workers and Temporary Foregin Workers will be subject to pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements, but are exempt from staying in a Government approved facility until March 14, 2021. More information about special processes for temporary foreign workers as well as alternative test protocols is expected shortly.

For a complete list of exemptions, please refer to the following sections of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) (QIOO) Emergency Order.

Specific requirement in the QIOO Corresponding exemption section in the QIOO - list of exemptions
Pre-departure testing – Section 1.2 (1) Section 1.2 (2)
Arrival Testing - Section 1.4 (1) Section 1.4 (2)

Note: all those exempt from mandatory quarantine are also exempt from post-arrival testing.

Stay of the government approved accommodation for 3 nights while awaiting arrival test results – Section 3 (1.01) (a) Section 3 (1.2)

Note: all those exempt from arrival testing are also exempt from the requirement to stay at a GAA since they are not waiting on arrival test results.

14 day quarantine – Section 3 (1) (a) Section 6(1)

Travel Wizard: This is a tool that can be used to assist in determining if a traveller can enter Canada, given the requirements and exemptions. As always, the final determination is made by government officials at the port of entry, based on documentation/information presented at that time.

https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/wizard-start

4. Requirement for Digital Submission of Contact / Quarantine Plan Information (ArriveCan)

As outlined in the Transport Canada Interim Order, Air Operators are required to notify travellers that all travellers returning or travelling to Canada via air may be required to digitally submit their suitable quarantine plan, which includes all COVID-19-related information and that failure to do so could result in a fine. This is to be done digitally through ArriveCAN before they board their flight and includes providing: travel and contact information; their suitable quarantine plan (unless exempt under conditions set out in Section 6(1) of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations)); and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. ArriveCAN is available as a mobile app or by signing in online through Canada.ca/ArriveCAN.

In the Interim Order, the notification requirement obliges air operators to notify travellers that they may be required to digitally submit information; this is because in some specific cases there is an exception. In these exceptional cases it is acceptable to use the paper version to provide the required information which include the following instances:

  • If the person is disabled;
  • If there is inadequate infrastructure;
  • If there is a service disruption; or
  • If there is a natural disaster.

It should be noted that the role of the air carrier is strictly to notify travellers of the mandatory digital submission of information. Air carriers are not required to verify receipts from ArriveCAN, however any encouragement or promotion of the use of ArriveCAN is very much appreciated.

Important Note: Until further notice, travellers who have not submitted their COVID-19-related information digitally through ArriveCAN prior to boarding are still allowed to board their flight and enter Canada, however, failure to submit information using ArriveCAN could result fines upon arrival. Air Operators can provide paper copy forms to travellers who refuse to submit their information digitally, however it should be noted that they should expect processing delays once arriving in Canada. In the exceptional cases where paper forms need to be provided, it is recommended that this take place in flight, to avoid congestion in the customs hall upon arrival.

Sample messaging is available for air carriers to use to notify their travellers here:

5. Extended Family & Compassionate Grounds

Border restrictions have been eased to allow for reunification with extended family and gaining entry for compassionate reasons, in some cases; authorization is required for entry to be granted. It should be noted that the onus is on the traveller to ensure they have proper documentation authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for compassionate reasons (see the PHAC website for specific instructions) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the extended family reunification (see the IRCC website for specific instructions) before making travel arrangements. The air carrier’s role is simply to verify that the traveller is in possession of the documentation, and NOT to validate the documentation.

6. International Students

International Students will now only be granted entry to Canada if the institution they are attending is on the official list of institutions available on the Citizenship & Immigration website . The onus is on the traveller, in this case the international student, to carefully review of the requirements outlined on the website noted above, to liaise with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada to ask any questions and to ensure they have all the required documentation to gain entry into Canada. The documentation may include a valid study permit, a valid letter of acceptance from the designated learning institution, and proof that you have enough money to support yourself. The role of the air carrier is simply to verify that the traveller has the required documentation; they are NOT responsible for validating any of the information contained within the documentation. International Students, (as defined under paragraph 3(1)(n) of the Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country Other than the United States) are subject to pre-departure testing, arrival testing, the stay at the government approved hotel while they wait for their testing results (unless they are a minor), and must fulfill the mandatory quarantine requirements.

7. International Single Sporting Events

The Public Health Agency of Canada Emergency Orders, provides exceptions for foreign nationals as it pertains to high-performance athletes and international sporting events.

A foreign national, who is a high-performance athlete, may be granted entry into Canada as long as they have an authorization letter issued by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage to take part in an international single sporting event. A person engaging in an essential role in relation to an international single sport event may also be permitted to enter Canada. In both cases the athlete or person in an essential role seeking entry for the purpose of an international sporting event must be affiliated with a national organization responsible for that sport. The role of the air carrier is strictly to verify that the foreign national has, in their possession, an authorization letter from the Minister of Canadian Heritage; there is no requirement for the air carrier to validate any details.

Sample questions for online check-in or counter check-in:

  1. Do you have a COVID-19 molecular test that meets the following requirements: (1) name of traveller matches the traveller’s identification; (2) test is negative and dated within 72 hours of the scheduled departure of the flight to Canada OR test is positive (and dated at least 14 days but not more than 90 days) from the scheduled departure flight to Canada; OR do you meet one of the following exceptions (child under 5, current/future air crew, person identified by the Chief Public Health Officer, transiting travellers, and emergency personnel)?
    • If “yes”, proceed to question #2
    • If “no”, deny boarding
  2. Are you a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, registered Indian under the Indian Act, a protected person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or are you transiting* through Canada?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to Health Check and Temperature Screening
    • If “No”, proceed to question #3
  3. Are you travelling for compassionate reasons and have valid documentation authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to question #9
    • If “No”, proceed to question #4
  4. Are you travelling for non-essential, optional purposes including tourism, recreation or entertainment?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to question #5
    • If “No”, proceed to question #7
  5. Are you travelling to reunite with immediate or extended family and have valid documentation authorized by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a stay of at least 15 days?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to question #9
    • If “No”, go to question #6
  6. Are you travelling as an athlete coming for an international sporting event or person with an essential role for the event with (with authorization from the Minister of Canadian Heritage)?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to question #9
    • If “No”, deny boarding
  7. Do you meet one of the exceptions for foreign nationals to enter Canada made under the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country Other than the United States) (see Section 3)?
    • If “Yes”, proceed to question #8
    • If “No”, deny boarding
  8. If you are subject to the 14 day mandatory quarantine will you be able to fulfill this requirement based on your planned visit to Canada? (see Section 6 of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations) for a list of people who are exempt from the quarantine requirement)
    • If “Yes”, or not subject to, proceed to question #9
    • If “No”, Deny Boarding
  9. Do you confirm that you are aware of the Government of Canada travel restrictions and that, to the best of your knowledge, you are not prohibited from entering Canada? 
    • If “ Yes”, proceed to Health Check and Temperature Screening
    • If “No”, deny boarding

Decision-Making Tree: Managing International Travellers travelling to Canada

International_decision_tree_en

Decision-Making Tree: Managing International Travellers travelling to Canada

(PDF, 122 KB)

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Annex A1 - Pre-board notification to travellers

The pre-board notification can be done online, at automated check-in kiosks by agents at the check-in counter (e.g., pre-board announcement), or any other means, at the discretion of the air operator. However, it is strongly recommended that the traveller be made aware well before they leave to take their trip that they will require a COVID-19 molecular test (refer to https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying for a list of accepted molecular tests) in order to return to Canada, as well as the specific conditions around the test results (e.g. testing windows associated with both negative and positive tests). They should also be notified of the requirement to have a face mask in their possession prior to arriving at the airport.

In order to manage the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada, has new restrictions in place for travellers coming into Canada.

Please be advised that, with a few exceptions:

  • Anyone aged 5 and over travelling to Canada will be required to present a COVID-19 molecular test result in order to board their flight for Canada. If the test result is negative, it must have been conducted within 72 hours of a traveller’s scheduled flight to Canada in order for the traveller to be allowed to board. If the passenger has had COVID-19, has recovered, but is still testing positive, they will be permitted to board with a positive test result providing it was administered least 14 days but not more than 90 days from a traveller’s scheduled flight to Canada as long as they are symptom free. Failure to provide a test result, within either of the accepted testing windows, unless the traveller meets one of the few exceptions, will result in a denial of boarding.

  • In addition to the pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test, travellers coming to Canada will also be required to undergo a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival. While travellers are awaiting their arrival test results they will be required to begin their quarantine at a government approved hotel at the traveller’s expense. Evidence of this pre-paid booking will be required upon arrival in Canada through ArriveCAN.

  • Discretionary travel, including for tourism or recreational purposes, is not permitted.

  • All travellers are subject to the 14 day mandatory quarantine period starting the day they enter Canada, and must be able to demonstrate how they plan to fulfillthis requirement while in Canada. Failure to comply with the mandatory quarantine could result in imprisonment and/or fines.

Prior to boarding a flight for Canada, travellers will be required to undergo a health check, a temperature screening and a verification that you have a face mask that covers your mouth, nose and chin. This will involve answering a few simple questions to which you must answer truthfully. Providing a false or misleading answer could result in a maximum fine of $5,000. The temperature screening process will also be done using a device that measures the temperature on your forehead, which will require that it be exposed. Any scarf, head covering or hair in this area may need to be lifted temporarily so that a proper temperature reading can be taken.

The Government of Canada is requiring that all travellers have a face mask that covers their mouth, nose and chin for use through the airport and in-flight to prevent the inadvertent spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets. Travellers will need to wear their face mask at all times during their travel journey.

As part of Canada’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is mandatory for all travellers flying to Canada to provide accurate information on their suitable mandatory 14-day quarantine plan before entry. Violating any instructions provided to you when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. To submit your suitable quarantine information you must use ArriveCAN before you board your flight. ArriveCAN is available as a mobile app available for download through Google Play or the Apple App store by signing in online. You must provide your travel and contact information, suitable quarantine plan, evidence of pre-paid accommodations at a government approved facility, and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment, unless otherwise exempted from one or all of these requirements. Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that you have submitted your information digitally. Travellers who do not submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to fines. For more information, or if you require assistance, visit Canada.ca/ArriveCAN.

As a reminder, no person should board a flight when they are feeling ill as this could potentially put others at risk. Should symptoms such as a fever, cough or difficulty breathing develop while in flight, please notify the flight crew immediately.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they are eligible to enter Canada. If entry is refused, they will be responsible for their own return. More information about eligibility criteria can be found on the Government of Canada website, travel.gc.ca.

Stay safe, and thank you for your cooperation.

Annex A2 – In-flight announcement prior to landing in Canada

In light of the global pandemic related to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day quarantine for all persons entering Canada, with few exceptions, even if the person does not have symptoms. These efforts will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

All travellers are required to provide information prior to landing so that public health officials can contact you if needed. This is a reminder that it is now mandatory for all travellers flying to Canada to use ArriveCAN to submit your travel and contact information, suitable quarantine plan, evidence of a pre-paid accommodation at a government approved facility and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally. For more information, or if you require assistance, visit Canada.ca/ArriveCAN.

As part of the recent measures put in place, once travellers arrive in Canada, they will undergo a COVID-19 on-arrival test, unless exempt. They will then be required to stay in a government approved accommodation while they await their test results. More information can be found at travel.gc.ca.

Travellers are reminded that they must use their face mask during their travel journey. Upon landing, travellers will be required to wear their face mask when gathering their belongings and leaving the aircraft and until they reach the outside of the air terminal building.

Stay safe and be informed about COVID-19 related information from the national, provincial and territorial health authorities.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Annex A3 – Sample Email content on New Enhanced Measures

Below is an example of messaging to include in your e-mail to travellers coming to Canada including at ticket purchase, booking confirmation, early check-in, in itinerary emails, or other communications, as you see fit.

Subject: Enhanced Travel Measures by the Government of Canada

All travellers 5 years of age and older flying to Canada from another country are required to provide proof of a pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test in order to enter Canada, unless exempt.

Travellers must have in their possession, in order to board the aircraft, a printed or electronic proof of a:

  • negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of their scheduled departure time; or a

  • positive COVID-19 molecular test taken between 15 and 90 days prior to their scheduled departure (as this is considered a residual positive, where someone has had COVID-19, has recovered, but still has traces of the virus).

In addition to the pre-departure COVID-19 molecular testing requirement, as of February 22nd all travellers, unless exempt, are now required to undergo a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival in Canada, as well as stay in a government approved hotel, at the travellers own cost, for up to 3 nights while awaiting their test results.

Travellers must reserve their accommodation prior to departure to Canada and pre-pay for the cost of their 3-night stay (refer to this link for hotel booking information); it should be noted that the cost of the hotel stay will be higher than a normal hotel room as the costs account for the room, food, cleaning, infection prevention and control measures, security and transportation. Travellers must have proof of a pre-paid hotel booking at a government approved accommodation upon arrival in Canada. Travellers are also encouraged to pre-register for arrival testing where available using the following links based on where they are arriving in Canada:

Vancouver (YVR): https://checkout.lifelabs.com/arrival-registration

Calgary (YYC): No pre-registration available at this time; government officials will refer travellers to the testing area upon arrival.

Toronto-Pearson (YYZ): https://www.switchhealth.ca/en/travel/pearson/

Montreal-Trudeau (YUL): https://info.biron.ca/inscription-yul

Travellers must use ArriveCAN to ensure all the required information is captured before boarding the flight to Canada, including their pre-paid 3 night stay at a government approved accommodation as well as their suitable quarantine plan information. Failure to submit this information in ArriveCAN could result in a fine. Download the ArriveCAN app for free on Google Play and Apple App store or provide your information by signing in online.

Once travellers receive their arrival test results, should the test result be negative, they will be able to leave the hotel to carry out the remainder of their 14 day quarantine at their final place of quarantine (the use of public transportation including flights is permitted, as long as local health protocols are followed) or a federal designated quarantine facility if they do not have a suitable plan. If the test result is positive, travellers will be required to immediately quarantine for 14 days in a designated government quarantine facility.

Entering Canada by Air during COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/awareness-resources/entering-canada-covid-19.html

Travel Wizard (a tool to assist in determining if a traveller is eligible to enter Canada): https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/wizard-start

For more information, please visit https://travel.gc.ca/.

Annex B – Provincial/Territorial Restrictions

Please note that provincial and territorial information is changing on a frequent basis. It is recommended that travellers consult the following provincial and territorial government websites to obtain the latest travel information:

Province/Territory Information

Alberta

Entry restrictions:

All non-exempt travellers returning to or entering Alberta from outside Canada are required to isolate for 14 days.

Travellers to Alberta should consult COVID-19 info for Albertans

British Columbia

Entry restrictions:

All non-exempt travellers returning to or entering British Columbia from outside Canada are required to isolate for 14 days.

Travellers to British Columbia should consult British Columbia COVID-19

Manitoba

Entry restrictions:

Anyone entering Manitoba, regardless of whether from another country or another province must self-isolate for 14 days. 

Travellers to Manitoba should consult Manitoba COVID-19

New Brunswick

Entry restrictions:

All unnecessary travel in NB is prohibited and peace officers are authorized to turn visitors away when they attempt to enter. Unnecessary travel includes non-residents of NB to make or receive purchases or to visit or for other social purposes.

Travellers to New Brunswick should consult New Brunswick Coronavirus 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Entry restrictions:

the only individuals permitted to enter the province are those who are:

  • Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island;
  • Asymptomatic workers and individuals who are subject to the Self-Isolation Exemption Order; and
  • Individuals who have been permitted entry to the province in extenuating circumstances, as approved in advance by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

For more information on traveling to Newfoundland and Labrador:Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 information

Northwest Territories

Entry restrictions:

The Northwest Territories (NWT) Chief Public Health Officer has prohibited all travel into the Northwest Territories.

For more information on traveling to Northwest Territories coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Nova Scotia

Entry restrictions:

No travel restrictions, however anyone who has travelled outside of Nova Scotia (including interprovincial) must self-isolate for 14 days as per provincial public health orders.

Travellers to Nova Scotia should consult Nova Scotia novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nunavut

Entry restrictions:

Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO), 2020, to prohibit all travel within Nunavut that originated from across any inter-jurisdictional border. Only Nunavut residents and critical employees will be allowed into the territory.

Nunavut COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Ontario

Entry restrictions:

No travel restrictions beyond the Public health Agency of Canada order for 14 day mandatory quarantine (no symptoms) or isolation (with symptoms) for those who have recently returned to Canada.

Ontario: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prince Edward Island

Entry restrictions:

All non-essential travel into the province is prohibited. Peace officers are authorized to turn any person(s) away who attempts to enter the province for unnecessary travel and to require any person(s) to leave the province immediately. Screening measures are in place at all entry points to the province including the Charlottetown Airport.

Prince Edward Island COVID-19

Quebec

Entry restrictions:

Anyone returning from outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not. 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Québec

Saskatchewan

Entry restrictions:

Travellers returning from international destinations (including the United States) are subject to a mandatory self-isolation public health order and federal quarantine requirements.

Travellers to Saskatchewan should consult Saskatchewan COVID-19.

Yukon

Entry restrictions:

Travellers who are not residents of BC, NWT or Nunavut, or have travelled outside of those jurisdictions in the 14 days prior to entering Yukon are required to self-isolate in Whitehorse for 14 days. 

Travellers to Yukon should consult Yukon: Find information about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Annex C – Face Masks

Well-designed and well-fitting face masks can prevent the spread of your infectious respiratory droplets. They may also help protect you from the infectious respiratory droplets of others. How well a face mask works depends on the materials used, how the mask is made, and most importantly, how well it fits. For more information on face masks consult: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html#a1

Safe Use of Removable Face Masks

Removable face masks should: Removable face masks should not:
  • Be made of multiple layers*of tightly woven fabric such as cotton or linen
  • Cover the mouth, nose and chin completely and comfortably (without big gaps)
  • Allow for easy breathing
  • Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops (masks covering a person’s beard or secured around a headwear (e.g. turban) are also considered acceptable)
  • Be comfortable and not require frequent adjustments
  • Be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
  • Maintain its shape after machine washing and drying
  • Be placed on children less than 2 years old
  • Be placed on anyone who is unconscious
  • Be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance
  • Be placed on anyone with a medical certificate indicating they should not wear a mask
  • Be made exclusively of plastic sheeting, lace or mesh, or materials that easily fall apart (e.g. tissues)
  • Be shared with others
  • Impair vision or interfere with tasks

*Instructions Regarding Assessing Face Masks:

There is no expectation to have travellers remove their face mask to verify that there is a specific number of layers beyond “multiple” layers (which means more than one layer); a visual verification is sufficient to assess whether the requirements appear to be met. Air carriers can refer to the “Accepted vs Not Accepted Face mask Poster” (among other posters) that have been developed by Transport Canada:
https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/posters-air-travellers#poster-on-non-medical-masks).

Age restrictions regarding children (as outlined in the Interim Order):

  • Children under the age of 2 are not required to wear a face mask.

  • Between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age, children are required to wear a face mask at the time of boarding, during flight and while disembarking, so long as the child is able to tolerate it. Children in this age bracket (or their parents/guardian) must be able to demonstrate they have a face mask in their possession when boarding the plane, even if the child is not be able to tolerate wearing the face mask at that time.

  • Children six and older must wear one when travelling, unless their parent or guardian have a medical certificate.

For further information about the children and the wearing of face masks, see PHAC’s situations or settings where they're recommended.

Hearing impairments and clear masks:

The use of face masks with a transparent material over the mouth to facilitate lip reading is encouraged if someone is hearing impaired, if they interact with people who use lip-reading to communicate, or in settings where facial expression is an important part of communication. However, the rest of the face mask must still be made of tightly woven material such as cotton or linen and have a tight seal between the transparent material and rest of the face mask.

When wearing a face mask, take the following precautions:

  • wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching the face mask
  • don’t hang the face mask from your ears or place it under your chin
  • replace and launder your face mask whenever it becomes damp or dirty
  • store the face mask in a clean paper or cloth bag until you put it on again
  • place all soiled face masks in a secure, waterproof bag or container until they can be washed in the laundry
  • wash your face mask with hot, soapy water and let it dry completely before wearing it again
  • discard the face masks that cannot be washed in a plastic lined garbage bin after use

Annex D – Retention Period of Records

Retention period: 90 days
Information related to Temperature Screening –
For air carriers
Retention Period: 12 months
Information related to facemask infractions
The following information related to Temperature Screening:
  • # of people not permitted to board the aircraft due to an elevated temperature
  • The date and flight number
  • Make and model of the equipment used to conduct temp screening
  • Date/time equipment was last calibrated/maintained
  • Results of the last calibration/corrective measures. [information to be kept 90 days post flight]
  • Record of the name of every person who has received training on how to use the temp screening equipment and the contents of the training [information to be kept 90 days post training]
Failure to comply with instructions given by a crew member pertaining to wearing a non-medical mask or face covering:
  • Date of flight number
  • Persons name and contact info including the persons date of birth, home address, telephone number and email
  • Persons seat number
  • Circumstances of the incident

[information to be kept 12 months post incident – and made available to the Minister upon request]

Annex E - Example Medical Certificates

Conditions Causing Elevated Body Temperatures

See Conditions Causing Elevated Body Temperatures

Conditions Preventing the Wearing of Face Masks or Face Coverings

See Conditions Preventing the Wearing of Face Masks or Face Coverings

Annex F – Template Letter for Crew

[Letterhead of industry]

[insert date of letter]

Re: confirmation of air crew members

To whom it may concern,

This letter is to confirm that [name on crew identification] is a member of the air crew of [name of air carrier] by virtue of their position as [crew member’s title]. The person is on active duty, or repositioning/returning to perform his/her duties within the next 14 days.

Please process them under any relevant exemptions for air crew:

They are considered an essential worker, crucial to the movement of goods and people and their travel is associated with this work.

Should you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at the coordinates listed below.

Thank you,

[name of supervisor/manager]

[telephone number of supervisor/manager]

[email of supervisor/manager]