Entry into Canada and random COVID testing

Jester38

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We are heading to the US (and hopefully Canada) leaving Feb 10 from Australia to the US and then to Canada on Feb 17. Been working out all entry and testing requirements but struggling a bit with the Canadian ones. From what we can see, we have to lodge a range of usual docs well before entry in the ArriveCAN system (inc a quarantine plan) and have had a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival into Canada. All good there. However, apparently Canada MAY still require a traveller to undergo testing at the border and although you are free to travel to the place of quarantine that you have nominated, you have to test at airport, quarantine until a negative test result is delivered.
We are only in Canada for six days and the thought of spending three of them in quarantine is not an attractive one. Has anyone had any experience recently entering Canada and seen how this works in practice? Is it really random, or is it being used for people with some symptoms (despite 72 hr negative test)? Welcome any feedback. Thanks.
 

DC3

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.. apparently Canada MAY still require a traveller to undergo testing at the border and although you are free to travel to the place of quarantine that you have nominated, you have to test at airport, quarantine until a negative test result is delivered …
It’s a real downer currently. I have been watching this for a while and hoping that by my planned trip in July, things will be eased. And needing to produce evidence of a 14-day isolation plan doesn’t fill me with confidence.
 
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Jester38

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Agree. I think we all know that if we test positive, quarantine is a given and at least you can choose where you plan to do it but the bigger concern is a random test at border that sends you into quarantine regardless of your COVID status. Don't want to be hostage to a "lucky dip"!
 

Mattg

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A friend of mine recently flew into Canada and was "randomly" selected to have this test. The result took almost a week to get, and he had to isolate at home for that whole time.

He wasn't exactly happy about it as the selection process of who gets chosen is not transparent at all - the border staff can just "volunteer" you (his words).
 
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My son and I arrived into YVR on QF75 Saturday 15th and we’re selected to test as was the whole flight. I had read up on YVR deals FB page as had the same concerns over duration of quarantine. We were given the option of a take home pcr test which involves a lot of stuffing around with appointments, faulty tests and fedex so knew to wait it out in the line and test at the airport. We waited around half an hour in line and to be tested, then headed to our booked hotel in whistler to quarantine. Tested at 5pm Saturday and we had our results through by 2:30pm Sunday afternoon. Better than I expected and a relief to get the email and get on with our holiday.
 

Jester38

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A member on this site recently compiled a small Trip Report which involved the US and CA here
Thanks both Matts for the feedback. Two vastly different situations - one clears overnight and the other takes ages. Not feeling lucky....
 

Jester38

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My son and I arrived into YVR on QF75 Saturday 15th and we’re selected to test as was the whole flight. I had read up on YVR deals FB page as had the same concerns over duration of quarantine. We were given the option of a take home pcr test which involves a lot of stuffing around with appointments, faulty tests and fedex so knew to wait it out in the line and test at the airport. We waited around half an hour in line and to be tested, then headed to our booked hotel in whistler to quarantine. Tested at 5pm Saturday and we had our results through by 2:30pm Sunday afternoon. Better than I expected and a relief to get the email and get on with our holiday.
Def sounds like PCR is the way to go! Can I ask - did you bus up on the Saturday evening to Whistler or did you overnight in Vancouver before heading up next day? Assume you can only choose one place to quarantine?
 

Jester38

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A friend of mine recently flew into Canada and was "randomly" selected to have this test. The result took almost a week to get, and he had to isolate at home for that whole time.

He wasn't exactly happy about it as the selection process of who gets chosen is not transparent at all - the border staff can just "volunteer" you (his words).
MattG, thanks - do you happen to know if he took the PCR test or the "take home" test? From what I am reading, seems like the former is quick but the latter is REALLY long......
 

Mattg

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MattG, thanks - do you happen to know if he took the PCR test or the "take home" test? From what I am reading, seems like the former is quick but the latter is REALLY long......

I think it was the PCR test taken at the airport. However, this was at YUL. I think the other person who had a quicker experience flew into YVR. The processing times may vary between airports/cities.
 
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I think it was the PCR test taken at the airport. However, this was at YUL. I think the other person who had a quicker experience flew into YVR. The processing times may vary between airports/cities.
Yes, I was through YVR, aside from QF misplacing a priority baggage container for an hour with about 6 pax’s bags, whole process was pretty smooth, including the PCR test at the airport. Just be sure be registered prior on the lifelabs for the test links are all on the canada gov site (1 email per address per pax, which is a pain) and insist on the test at the airport rather than take home test. Hopefully they will move to RAT test soon or drop it completel.
 
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Def sounds like PCR is the way to go! Can I ask - did you bus up on the Saturday evening to Whistler or did you overnight in Vancouver before heading up next day? Assume you can only choose one place to quarantine?
the take home test is also PCR, but a whole pain in the rear from what I read with faulty tests before they are used due to cold temps, then having to make an appointment to have the test observed, then having fedex pick it up, then waiting for the result. all amounting to days before a result. At the airport, you know the test is going to the lab same day and the lab clearly working 7 days as our result came through Sunday after the Saturday test.

i had a mate who lives in whistler pick me up, but you are free to go however you like. As long as it is straight to your accom. I had originally planned to stay first night downtown, but with the test and isolate requirements decided to change this up and head straight to whistler. In arriveCan app and on your lifelabs can only put one location for your quarantine. Having said all this, haven’t had one phone call to check our status which I had seen was a thing on other forums. Could be because I put the hotels phone number on my arrivecan application because it wouldn’t accept an Aussie mobile, only US/Canada. So they could have been ringing (robocalls apparently) the hotel number. Heading home tomorrow so will post experience departing once we are back. Big variations in RAT test pricing and time taken for result From my research so plan to do it at the airport with CVM onsite at YVR at $79 each and quick turnaround.
 

Lukeyd

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Just thought I'd add to the tread (in case it turns up in search in the future) that Canada is changing their entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

As of Feb 28:
  • Pre-departure, a PCR test ("taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight") or a RAT ("taken the day prior to their scheduled flight") can be taken; and
  • Those selected for random arrival testing no longer need to quarantine while awaiting their results
More details here: Government of Canada lightens border measures as part of transition of the pandemic response - Canada.ca
 

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