Canadians returning home from trips abroad regardless of length will now have to show proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test to re-enter the country.
Just after midnight Tuesday, the federal government’s revived pre-arrival testing policy went into effect, mandating molecular testing like the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, for all travellers entering Canada.
On Friday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement as the country continues to see a rise in Omicron infections.
The measure includes Canadians re-entering the country from trips abroad that were less than 72 hours, Duclos said. Only last month, the federal government dropped the negative test requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians returning home from short international trips under 72 hours.
Canada’s testing rules for travel indicate travellers must show a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours of their scheduled flight or arrival at the border, or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days before travel.
Duclos said Friday the pre-arrival test must be taken in a country other than Canada, and that officials are working with airport authorities, airlines and testing providers to increase testing capacity at airports for an efficient process.
On Wednesday, the federal government issued a travel advisory ahead of the holidays, asking Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country as Omicron spreads worldwide.
“I will say it again: now is not the time to travel,” Duclos said Friday.