Canada’s New Negative PCR Test Requirement Starts January 7

As reported by CBC news, and as a follow up to yesterday’s announcement, Canada will begin requiring travelers to obtain a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival in Canada as of January 7th.

Here is a quick summary:

  • The 72 hours is calculated based on boarding time.
  • Only those over the age of 5 will be required to obtain a negative PCR test.
  • Passengers will have to arrange the tests themselves and pay out of their own pocket.
  • Negative test results must be presented to the airline prior to boarding flight to Canada.
  • If passengers cannot obtain a test, they will have to successfully demonstrate there was no facility where they could get a test abroad, or they will be denied boarding.
  • Those who are allowed to to board the flights without a test will have to quarantine for 14 days at a federally-approved facility once they reached their arrival destination.
  • As mentioned yesterday, those who tested negative will still have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning home. This requirement will not be dropped even with a negative test.
  • The Transport Minister all but admitted there is no effective way to combat counter-fit negative tests from abroad.

Some questions I immediately have:

  • It is not clear what time zone January 7th refers to – departure or arrival time? Ottawa time?
  • What happens if one boards a flight on January 6th that will arrive on January 7th?
  • Who pays for the 14-day quarantine at the federally-approved facilities?
  • If a person who was unable to get a test arrives at Toronto first before continuing onto Vancouver, how will the government and airline ensure safety of passengers on his connecting domestic flight?
  • With many places, including Hawaii, moving to a 10 day quarantine, will Canada also consider this, at least for those who presented a negative PCR test?
CBC Interview Video with Transport Minister