Canada's Travel Restrictions Are Changing & It Means COVID-19 Tests Will Be Cheaper

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Canada's Travel Restrictions Are Changing & It Means COVID-19 Tests Will Be Cheaper

Taking COVID-19 tests after travelling abroad is about to get a little cheaper, thanks to an upcoming change to Canada's travel restrictions.

On February 15, the federal government announced a series of updates to public health measures at the border.

Starting February 28, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada from any country will only need to take a PCR test on arrival if they are randomly selected to do so.

Those who are chosen for testing will no longer be required to quarantine while waiting for their test results, either.

Additionally, they will be able to choose whether to take a rapid antigen test or a molecular test to meet pre-entry requirements.

It's good news for those hoping to save a little money, as rapid antigen tests are cheaper and generally easier to purchase.

Pharmacies are often able to verify and document rapid test results for travel, which means they're accessible at a much cheaper cost and sometimes with a faster turnaround.

For example, at Walmart pharmacies, a rapid antigen COVID-19 test costs $19.97. You can get a similar test in Shoppers Drug Mart for $40.

However, there are a couple of things to consider if you decide to take a rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test. If a rapid antigen test is used, it must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and be administered by a laboratory, health care entity or telehealth service.

It must also be taken within 24 hours of a traveller's scheduled arrival in Canada.

Like in Canada though, rapid antigen tests tend to be cheaper in other countries.

You can purchase do-it-yourself PCR tests in Canada before leaving, to take ahead of your return. PCR testing rules won't change and will still have to be taken within 72 hours of departure.

PCR tests are a lot pricer, though. At Rexall Pharmacies, you can expect to pay between $199 for a "single" test.

Costco sells do-it-yourself PCR tests for $118.99. Air Canada has their own version, starting at $149.

Unvaccinated travellers will still have to be tested upon arrival and quarantine.

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

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