On November 30, 2021, the Government of Canada announced additional border measures and new prohibitions to address the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

All travellers arriving to Canada from any country, except the United States, will be subject to COVID-19 testing immediately upon arrival to Canada. This applies to subject travellers regardless of vaccination status. This requirement also applies to Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Canada from countries other than the United States.

Fully vaccinated travellers who are subject to post-arrival testing must self-isolate while they await results of their arrival test. The Government has not specified quarantine times, but it appears that travellers can expect to quarantine for two to four days while awaiting test results. Unless travelling from a country with entry prohibitions as listed below, travellers will likely be able to quarantine at home or other locations of their choice.

The Government has not officially announced an implementation date for these new testing measures, but Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that the new requirements will go into effect, "as quickly and as much as possible over the next few days."

The Federal Government has reported at least six confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to date. Canada's Deputy Chief Public Health officer has described the enhanced border measures as a temporary tool to help the Government adapt.

Countries with Entry Prohibitions to Canada

Along with the return of post-arrival testing and quarantine rules, the Government of Canada has announced a number of new travel bans for countries that have an Omicron variant outbreak or could have an outbreak. Effective December 1, 2021, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries within the past 14 days will be prohibited from entering Canada:

  • Botswana
  • Egypt
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act who have visited the above listed countries within the past 14 days will be subject to the following requirements:

  • Within 72 hours of departure, obtain a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test in a third country before continuing their journey to Canada
  • Complete testing upon arrival to Canada, regardless of vaccination status or a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19
  • Complete a test on Day 8 after arrival and quarantine for 14 days

Travellers arriving by air from a listed country will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while they await their arrival test result. They will be permitted further travel once they have received a negative arrival test result.

Travellers arriving by land may be allowed to go straight to their quarantine location. They need a suitable quarantine plan, meaning they do not have contact with anyone they have not travelled with, and have private transportation to their place of quarantine. If land travellers do not have a suitable quarantine plan they must stay at a designated quarantine facility.

Reminder of requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

As we previously outlined in our recent blog, Significant Updates the Canada's COVID-19 Travel Rules, beginning November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated Canadians who re-enter Canada within 72 hours of are no longer required to provide a pre-entry molecular test result.

All other fully vaccinated travellers, regardless if they are Canadian citizens, must comply with the following:

  • Show a pre-entry molecular test
  • Use the ArriveCan app to upload proof of vaccination
  • Take an arrival test if selected and applicable

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