Travellers with questionable COVID documents could face $5,000 fine

Dubious test could cost you

If you're planning on flying outside of Canada in the near future, you need to ensure that you'll be able to get a COVID-19 test before you return home.

That said, not all testing facilities are created equal, and you could be denied boarding if you carry a questionable document. And you could also be fined up to $5,000.

So, before you depart on your next flight, consider the risks involved, and determine if you'll be able to acquire a credible document.

Earlier this month, Transport Minister Marc Garneau issued an interim order formalizing the new COVID-19 testing requirements for all air travellers coming into Canada. Now, everyone flying into Canada will need to have proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 to the airline prior to boarding their flight.

The test must be performed using one of two types of COVID-19 tests – either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) – and must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

All travellers coming to Canada must present a negative laboratory test (paper or electronic proof of result) at the time of boarding. Failure to do so will mean an automatic denial of boarding.

Under the Aeronautics Act, travellers caught using a questionable or fraudulent document could be denied boarding, and subject to fines of up to $5,000. Further, additional actions may be levied against the traveller by a Public Health Quarantine officer upon arrival in Canada.

According to Transport Canada, travellers should have their tests performed at reputable laboratories or testing facilities. These include facilities that are recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization.

While there may be cheaper or faster options available, they may provide you with a questionable document.

Travellers must ensure that the negative laboratory test result includes the following data elements:

  • Traveller name and date of birth
  • Name and civic address of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test
  • The date on which the test was conducted
  • The method of test conducted (e.g. PCR or LAMP)
  • The test result (such as “negative” or “not detected”)

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine, unless exempted under the Quarantine Act.

Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

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