Published July 29, 2021 by Ichor Blood Services

The world is opening upright in the middle of the summer. But just because the COVID-19 situation is getting better in some parts of the world does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. If you are returning from your summer vacation abroad, consider protecting the health of your fellow Canadians.

Thankfully, the Canadian government has in place a robust system to ensure that new arrivals do not spread COVID-19 to the rest of the population. Centred around a series of COVID-19 tests and a mandatory quarantine, this scheme applies to most incoming Canadians. Fully vaccinated Canadians benefit from certain exemptions, however. 

Learn all there is to know about COVID-19 testing and quarantine for return travellers so that you can get back to your daily routine without any infractions. 

Ichor Blood Services is an authoritative source on COVID-19 travel testing serving the populations of Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer. Our mission is to facilitate national and international travel for Canadians via innovative COVID-19 testing solutions. Our 48-hour in-clinic and virtual PCR tests are recognized by all airlines and countries around the world so that you can fly to any destination without stressing about your 72-hour testing window. To learn more about how Ichor Blood Services can assist you in your travelling plans, call 1-844-424-6728.

What To Expect Upon Your Return From Your Summer Vacation  

You are subject to a series of COVID-19 tests and mandatory quarantine upon your arrival to Canada. This law is strictly enforced by random compliance calls and visits to your residence or quarantine zone. Under the Quarantine Act, failing to adhere to the quarantine protocol can result in a fine up to $750,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months. 

If You Are Returning By Air 

Here is what you should expect if you are flying back to Canada: 

You will need a pre-entry test:

Before boarding your flight back to Canada, you must provide a negative PCR test (or any other accepted type of test) to your airline within 72 hours of the boarding. Antigen and antibody tests are not accepted. Canadians who fail to provide a satisfactory negative test may still enter the country at the expense of a $5,000 fine. 

A pre-entry test is required even if you are fully vaccinated. 

You will be tested upon arrival:

You will have to get tested right after landing. A testing provider will walk you through the process. In Alberta, the testing provider is the provincial government. To speed up the process, you can register yourself on the testing provider’s website prior to the arrival test. 

You will also receive a self-testing kit, which you will administer to yourself on the 8th day of your mandatory quarantine. 

If you are fully vaccinated, you must still get tested upon arrival but are exempt from the day-8 test. 

You will undergo mandatory quarantine:

You will have to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 3 days at your own expense. After 3 days, you may continue your quarantine at home for a total of 14 days. If your arrival test is positive, you will have to extend your quarantine at the hotel. 

You may be exempt from the hotel stopover as well as the 14-day quarantine if you are fully vaccinated. The decision is at the discretion of the customs agent. 

You will mail-in your day-8 test:

On the 8th day of your quarantine, you will have to test yourself for COVID-19 using the test kit provided by your testing provider. Log on to your testing provider’s website, and you will be connected with a nurse who will walk you through the process. You will then have to package your test result and hail a courier service to pick it up. 

If the test comes back negative, complete the remainder of your quarantine; if it is positive, you will have to extend your quarantine for another 14 days. 
If you are fully vaccinated, you may be exempt from the day-8 test as well as the quarantine as a whole. 

If You Are Returning By Land 

The same COVID-19 testing procedure applies to inbound drivers. Regardless of your vaccination status, you must provide a negative pre-entry test at the border and must get tested right after crossing. 

The only difference between flying and returning by land is that you do not have to quarantine for 3 days at a government-designated hotel. You can complete your entire 14-day quarantine at home. 

As per usual, you may not need to quarantine at all if you can provide proof of vaccination.  

COVID-19 Travel Testing For Returning Canadians 

In short, all returning Canadians, regardless of their vaccination status, will have to provide a negative pre-entry test and are subject to arrival testing. However, fully vaccinated Canadians may bypass the 14-day quarantine, including the 3-day hotel stopover for inbound flyers. They may be clear from the day-8 test as well. 

Did you encounter any complications regarding COVID-19 testing while trying to travel to another country? Get tested with Ichor Blood Services next time! Our 14 to 72-hour PCR tests, in conjunction with our virtual testing option, ensure that you will always catch your flight no matter where you are. Travelling in the COVID-19 era does not need to be difficult with Ichor Blood Services. Call 1-844-424-6728 to book a COVID-19 travel test for your next trip.  


What are the testing providers in Canada? 
The Government of Canada currently works with 4 testing providers. Depending on your point of entry, you will be either registering with Biron Groupe Santé, Switch Health, the Government of Alberta, or Lifelabs. 

What vaccines does the Government of Canada accept?  
You may be exempt from quarantine if you can provide satisfactory proof that you have received any of the vaccines below:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech 
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) 

Other vaccines are not currently accepted by the Government of Canada. 

Will the government check that I am quarantining?
Yes. Expect random calls and surprise visits during your 14-day quarantine period. 

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