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COVID testing rules extended to 96 hours for some travellers

January 8, 2021  By Greenhouse Canada

Transport Canada has updated the rules around negative COVID testing requirements for travellers entering Canada.

Starting Jan. 7, Canada required that all travellers test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their flights to Canada. Recognizing the scarcity of COVID testing in certain countries, Transport Canada has announced exceptions to the rule.

This impacts a number of countries participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and Temporary Foreign Workers Program.


As noted by the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI) in an email dated Jan. 7, “Travelers entering the country from Mexico and Jamaica, as well as some Caribbean, Central American and South America countries, can use tests conducted within 96 hours of departure until 9pm (PST) on Jan. 13, 2021.” (12:01 am EST, Jan. 14, 2021).

The list also includes Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana. A complete list of countries temporarily impacted by this measure can be found in this release by Transport Canada.

“Minister Bibeau’s office has confirmed that test results in Spanish will be accepted,” adds WALI, who asks workers and employers to ensure the following:

  • Name used for testing matches the worker’s passport
  • Receipts from testing are kept
  • Testing results are kept until arrival in Canada

For testing in Mexico, a list of accredited labs is available here.

As before, the required tests must be conducted by molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

“Up-to-date information on travel requirements can be found at (use “select a destination” under “Travel Advice and Advisories”),” notes WALI.

For travellers arriving from Haiti or Saint Pierre et Miquelon, there is a different exception in place. Due to “the absence or near absence of testing in those locations,” travellers do not need to produce COVID test results prior to boarding, up until 12:01am EST Jan. 21, 2021. These travellers will be “subject to additional measures from federal quarantine officers” upon arrival, says Transport Canada.

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