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Quarantine Process in Canada (updated April 9, 2021)

See also: COVID-19 Updates

Since February 22, 2021, people entering Canada have had to quarantine at an approved hotel, however, there are exceptions to the rule (discussed below). This is an addition to the proof of negative COVID-19 test that needs to be presented at the border.

It has been a couple of months since all these rules came into effect, so I thought I’d put together a more comprehensive guide overall and provide any updates since then.

Negative COVID-19 Test

On the government of Canada website, the rule, all travellers (by air or by land) is as follows:

  • All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. You don’t require a test to fly within Canada. At this time, proof of having a vaccine does not replace a valid test result.

Air Travel

More specific to air travellers, some of the rules include:

  • taking the molecular test within 72 hours of the scheduled flight departure time to Canada
  • for connecting flights, the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of the last direct flight to Canada

Land Travel

While for land crossings, some of the rules include:

  • taking a test before leaving the United States within 72 hours of entry into Canada
  • test must be performed in the United States

After arriving in Canada, then the hotel quarantine rules come into effect.

72-Hour Hotel Quarantine for Air Travellers

After providing the negative test result before boarding their flight, incoming passengers must take another test before immediately heading to the government approved hotel for the mandatory 72-hour stay.

The Federal Government has expanded its approved list of hotels that are currently located at 4 airports across the country. This is because those are the only 4 airports with international flights at the moment. If someone needs to travel elsewhere within the country, they will need to quarantine at one of these 4 cities first, before boarding their connection flight 72-hours later.

The list of hotels are as follows:

Alberta: Calgary International Airport (YYC)

  • Acclaim Hotel
  • Best Western Premier Freeport Inn Calgary Airport
  • Calgary Airport Marriot In Terminal Hotel
  • Hampton Inn by Hilton Calgary Airport North
  • Hyatt Place Calgary Hotel

British Columbia: Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

  • Abercorn Inn Vancouver Airport
  • Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Airport
  • EXchange Hotel Vancouver
  • Executive Hotel LeSoleil Vancouver
  • Executive Hotel Vancouver Airport
  • Executive Hotel Vintage Park Vancouver
  • Fairmont Vancouver Airport In-Terminal
  • Fairmont Waterfront
  • Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
  • Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
  • Hilton Vancouver Airport
  • Quality Hotel Airport South
  • Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport
  • Sandman Hotel Vancouver Airport
  • Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel
  • Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport

Ontario: Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ)

  • Alt Hotel Pearson Airport
  • Best Western Premier Toronto Airport Carlingview Hotel
  • Comfort Inn Toronto Airport
  • Courtyard Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West
  • Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Airport
  • Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport
  • Doubletree by Hilton Toronto Airport
  • Doubletree by Hilton Toronto Airport West
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Toronto Airport
  • Fairfield Inn and Suites Toronto Airport
  • Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Toronto Airport
  • Hampton Inn by Hilton Toronto Airport Corporate Centre
  • Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport
  • Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West/Mississauga
  • Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport
  • Holiday Inn Toronto-Airport East
  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport
  • Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre
  • Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre

Quebec: Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)

  • Baymont by Wyndham Montreal Airport
  • Best Western Montréal Aéroport-Airport Hotel
  • Comfort Inn Dorval
  • Comfort Inn Pointe-Claire
  • Crowne Plaza Montreal Airport
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Montreal Airport Conference Centre
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Montreal Airport
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Montreal Airport
  • Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites Montreal Airport
  • Marriott Courtyard Airport Montreal
  • Marriott Residence Inn Airport Montreal
  • Montreal Airport Marriott In-Terminal
  • Ramada Plaza Hotel
  • Novotel Montreal Airport
  • Quality Inn & Suites P.E. Trudeau Airport

Cost / Fines

The hotel confirmation must be done prior to boarding a flight coming to Canada, with fines of $3,000 for not providing sufficient evidence of pre-paid accommodation.

Travellers can expect to pay around $2,000 for the 3 nights to cover the costs, such as:

  • Food
  • Room
  • Security
  • Transportation
  • Infection prevention and control measures

The price can fluctuate depending on which hotel you book, so if the cost is an issue, I suggest shopping around the different options.

14-Day Quarantine

After the 72-hour hotel stay, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period still applies (already applies to land travellers), but the person can complete the remainder of the quarantine period somewhere else, like their own home. Note that the 14-day quarantine still applies even with negative COVID-19 tests and no symptoms.

Keep in mind that if during the quarantine period, the person found that they were exposed to another traveller with symptoms, develop symptoms themselves or receive a positive test result, 14 day quarantine resets at that moment.

Exceptions

There are several exceptions to the mandatory quarantine requirements (i.e. 72-hour hotel quarantine and 14-day isolation quarantine). The exemptions include people who:

  • provide essential services
  • maintain the flow of essential goods or people
  • are receiving medical care within 36 hours of entering Canada
  • regularly cross the border to work (pattern of travel which is generally defined as daily or weekly)
  • live in an integrated trans-border community
  • travel for essential reasons, based on a quarantine exemption list (e.g. essential medical services, medical services, transport or deliveries, health care practitioners, medical treatments, essential work considered exempt under the Emergency Orders)
  • travel for compassionate reasons: limited release for funerals, to care for someone, or for end-of-life visit

In additional, the following travellers are exempt from the 3-night hotel stay if they are:

  • an unaccompanied minor (under 18 years old and is not accompanied by a person who over 18 years old)
  • an unaccompanied dependant (a person who is 18 years old and is dependent on one or more other people for care or support)
  • already exempt from the requirement to undergo arrival testing
  • already exempt from the requirement to quarantine
  • a person who qualifies under the temporary Foreign Worker Program exemptions, who
    • do not have symptoms of COVID-19, and
    • are travelling to their final place of quarantine in a private vehicle, and
    • are travelling only with those who arrived on the same flight with them

However, they still need to go through the 14-day isolation quarantine at a pre-arranged location.

At-Home Testing

Finally, air travellers will also be required to take another COVID-19 molecular test on day 10 of their 14-day quarantine. They will be provided with a test kit and instructions before leaving the airport. As mentioned earlier, if there is a positive test result, the 14-day quarantine resets.

Conclusion

As much as we love to travel, we are currently deferring to the Federal Government’s strong advisory to “Canadians to cancel or postpone non-essential travel plans outside of Canada.” Due to how unpredictable things currently are (especially since rules can change while someone is away), we cannot recommend or encourage people to travel regardless of how we feel about the whole situation.

However, if you do need to travel for essential reasons, please be sure that you are updated on all the rules and regulations as they can really put a dent on your trip if a step is missed.

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