6 Things The Feds Want You To Know About Canada's New Travel Rules Before You Go Abroad

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6 Things The Feds Want You To Know About Canada's New Travel Rules Before You Go Abroad
Senior Editor

Canada's travel restrictions are set to change this month and going abroad is expected to become a little simpler and a little cheaper for fully vaccinated Canadians.

However, there are a few things the federal government wants you to consider before you book an international flight and pack your bags.

From considering the risks and checking your insurance to understanding pre-entry testing requirements at the Canadian border, here are a few things to keep in mind before you plan the post-pandemic vacation you've been dreaming of.

Understand testing requirements

Canada's COVID-19 testing requirements for travel have changed multiple times over the last year or so, so it's essential that you know the deal before you go overseas.

As of February 28, on-arrival testing will be eased for fully vaccinated travellers.

Fully vaxxed travellers entering will soon have the choice between taking a rapid antigen test or a PCR test to meet pre-entry requirements. Individuals may still be randomly selected for PCR testing upon entry, but those who are selected will no longer be required to quarantine while they await results.

It means Canadians returning home will now be able to take a cheaper antigen test, although the feds say an at-home test is not sufficient to meet the requirements.

"It must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service," a government notice reads.

The rules for unvaccinated travellers and unvaccinated foreign nationals are not set to change.

See a health professional

From February 28, the federal government also intends to change its global travel advisory from a level 3 to a level 2.

It means that travellers will be urged to "exercise a high degree of caution" abroad, rather than to "avoid all non-essential travel."

However, those who do decide to travel are still advised to consult a health care professional before going overseas.

The feds suggest visiting a doctor or travel health clinic "at least 6 weeks before you travel."

Use ArriveCAN

Although some of Canada's travel restrictions are changing, the requirement to use ArriveCAN is not.

"All travellers, regardless of how long they were away from Canada, continue to be required to submit their mandatory information via ArriveCAN (free mobile app or website)," the government says.

This includes uploading proof of COVID-19 vaccination in English or French and submitting a possible quarantine plan.

Check your insurance

Those who book an international vacation should ensure they have adequate travel insurance in case they face unexpected complications related to COVID-19.

"Check with your travel insurance provider and make sure you're covered for COVID-19-related medical expenses, other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses and trip interruption," advises the government.

Officials also recommend making backup plans in case you end up delayed on your way home, "including the financial implications and the practical arrangements (e.g. flight re-booking, extended accommodations at the destination etc.)."

Consider the risks

Before booking a trip, the feds say travellers should "consider the availability of medical services in a foreign country, and plan for the potential high costs associated with medical treatment and extending their trip, should they test positive for COVID-19 while abroad."

They also suggest avoiding "high-risk activities" while overseas, such as attending crowded events and spaces.

Examples listed by the government include large live performances, busy bars or sports events and crowded transportation systems.

Restrictions are subject to change

In a notice on February 15, the federal government urged Canadians to keep in mind that travel restrictions are subject to change, both in Canada and overseas.

They warned that measures "may change while [you] are abroad" and therefore travellers should "regularly review the entry requirements and exemptions for their travel situation."

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.