In the continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has announced that as of January 7, 2021, anyone seeking admission to Canada (unless exempt – see below), is required to provide evidence that the traveler has received a negative COVID-19 test conducted within seventy-two (72) hours prior to their planned travel.

What type of COVID-19 test must be conducted?

The COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is also called a "viral test," must be performed. An antibody COVID-19 test will not meet the requirements for entry. The PCR test result must be performed by a lab accredited by a government, professional association, or have obtained International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accreditation.

When must the traveler's COVID-19 PCR test be conducted?

The COVID-19 PCR test must be conducted within seventy-two (72) hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada.

Does the COVID-19 PCR testing requirement apply to those entering Canada via land or sea port-of-entry?

No, the COVID-19 PCR testing requirement only applies to those entering Canada via air.

What is acceptable evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test?

The traveler must have written or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted within seventy-two (72) hours prior to boarding.

Will proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine replace this test requirement?

While this is likely to be true at some point later this year, receipt of the vaccine does not replace the COVID-19 PCR testing requirement.

What if the COVID-19 PCR test is not available in the country from which the traveler is returning to Canada?

Travelers from a country where the COVID-19 PCR testing is unavailable will be required to report to a designated Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine facility for the duration of their mandatory fourteen (14) day quarantine.

Which travelers may be exempt from testing requirement? 

  • Children under the age of five (5);
  • A crew member;
  • Emergency service providers; and
  • Technical stops (i.e. flights refueling).

Does this testing requirement replace other measures implemented by Canada to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  No, for now, this new COVID-19 PCR testing requirement does not replace the following key measures:

 Stay tuned for the latest from the Moodys Immigration Team!

Moodys Tax Law is only about tax. It is not an add-on service, it is our singular focus. Our Canadian and US lawyers and Chartered Accountants work together to develop effective tax strategies that get results, for individuals and corporate clients with interests in Canada, the US or both. Our strengths lie in Canadian and US cross-border tax advisory services, estateplanning, and tax litigation/dispute resolution. We identify areas of risk and opportunity, and create plans that yield the right balance of protection, optimization and compliance for each of our clients' special circumstances.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.