The federal government is adding a requirement that travellers entering Canada must have a negative COVID-19 test before they are admitted.
COVID-19 tests performed for the entry requirement must be done within three days prior to a traveller’s entry to Canada, and must be a PCR test.
The measure was announced Wednesday morning at a remote press conference with Federal Ministers Dominic LeBlanc (Intergovernmental Affairs), Bill Blair (Public Safety), and Patty Hajdu (Health).
Details on how the testing requirement will be implemented will be released in the coming days, the Ministers said.
The federal government says this testing requirement is on top of existing requirements for passengers entering Canada to quarantine for 14 days.
“The federal government, and in fact no government in Canada, can prevent Canadians from travelling,” said Blair.
“But I want to be clear: we strongly advise against all discretionary travel.”
Quarantine remains an effective tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
The government says that 2 per cent of all known COVID-19 cases in Canada have originated from travel outside Canada.
That includes all known cases of the recently discovered variant which was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Cases of that variant have been reported in Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Njoo says that thanks to quarantine measures, all the people identified with the variant were already in quarantine.
“Quarantine has proven to be a protective health measure that works,” Njoo said on Wednesday.
He added that a monitoring program has been put in place with international partners and provinces and territories to identify other COVID-19 variants.
Njoo says it is expected that there will likely be other variants discovered in Canada, such as a new variety discovered in South Africa.
Quarantine violators can face up to six months in jail or up to $750,000 in fines.