Canada's Travel Rules Get Stricter Today & Even Fully Vaxxed Travellers May Be Impacted

Mandatory random testing is back, folks! ✈️

A sign that reads "all flights" at an airport in Canada. Right: Travellers pass through security at Vancouver Airport.
Senior Editor

A sign that reads "all flights" at an airport in Canada. Right: Travellers pass through security at Vancouver Airport.

Get ready, travellers! Canada's travel restrictions just got stricter again as the feds have confirmed that mandatory random COVID-19 testing is back.

In a statement on July 14, Health Canada announced that mandatory random testing will resume on Tuesday, July 19, for travellers who are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

It means at Canada's four major airports — Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto — fully vaxxed travellers may be required to leave the airport to be tested for COVID-19.

The feds say testing will now be completed at an in-person appointment at a testing provider location (such as a pharmacy) or via a virtual appointment.

According to Health Canada, moving the testing process outside of airports will "support testing for travellers" without creating any additional chaos at Canada's major airports.

Per the restrictions, fully vaxxed travellers entering Canada (including Canadians) may be randomly selected for a mandatory arrival test.

While they may now be required to leave the airport for testing, fully vaccinated people are permitted to travel on to their final destination, including on connecting flights, without waiting for test results.

Those who aren't considered fully vaccinated — anybody who hasn't been vaccinated with a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada — must continue to test as required on arrival, on Day One and Day Eight of their two-week quarantine.

A notice from the federal government explains, "Air travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated and who are selected for mandatory random testing, as well as air travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, will receive an email notification within 15 minutes of completing their customs declaration."

"The email will contain information to help them arrange for their test with a testing provider in their region."

Those who are not vaccinated will be required to take their tests through a virtual appointment or at a location that is able to work alongside their quarantine requirements.

Any travellers who test positive, regardless of their vaccination status, must go into isolation for 10 days from the date of the test result.

If selected, passengers are under a legal obligation to take the test within the required timeframe.

"If you don't comply, you may not be exempted from quarantine. You may also be required to go to a quarantine facility, face fines, or other enforcement measures," says the Government of Canada website.


Canada has new travel rules and you could be subject to a random COVID-19 test ✈️ #Toronto #Narcity #Ontario #Canada #pearsonairport

On June 11, the federal government paused mandatory random testing for air passengers as part of a broader strategy to reduce pressure on major airports.

The process was not dropped at land border crossings, meaning random testing has remained in place at the Canada-U.S. border. If selected, passengers crossing via land are given a self-swab kit to complete.

The government maintains that random testing at the border is necessary to help detect new variants of COVID-19.

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.

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.