Rumor: Canada Will Accept Antigen Tests Starting March 1st

According to a reliable serial leaker, Canada will be making the following travel-related COVID policy changes starting March 1st. There is optimism that the leak is credible, as Reuters just reported Canada will be announcing changes next week (but the article does not mention what the changes are, and when they will be implemented).

The rumored changes are:

  • Replacing mandatory testing upon arrival with random selection
  • If selected for random testing, no quarantine until positive result
  • Rapid antigen tests will be accepted for entry to Canada if taken within 24 hours of departure
  • Non-essential travel warning will be removed

The biggest news is, of course, the acceptance of rapid antigen tests, albeit within 24 hours of departure. This brings Canada in-line with US’s air entry requirement.

Will Canada Finally Accept Rapid Antigen Tests?

Antigen tests have never been accepted by Canada since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada is currently accepting non-antigen tests within 72 hours of departure. Due to Omicron variant, the government tightened its entry rules to accept tests taken outside of Canada only. As free PCR / NAAT tests are become harder to come by, many travelers are resorting to purchasing virtual PCR and LAMP test kits, such as those from Switch Health and Lucira. These kits are quite expensive at around $150 CAD each. If rapid antigen tests are accepted, using a $30 rapid antigen test will be much more economical.

This is the big news that travelers have been waiting for, and is a step in the direction of reopening the country fully. Time will tell if this rumor is true.

It may soon be a lot easier to visit Banff!