Ottawa’s New Testing Rules Could Mean an End to YYC’s Quarantine Shortcut

Photo by Daniel via Wikimedia Commons

The fate of Calgary airport’s COVID-19 testing pilot program which allows travellers to reduce their quarantine time is uncertain as new federal travel rules are set to come into effect.

When the CBC pressed Health Canada for clarification over which program would be in effect at YYC, the agency only replied: “the governments of Canada and Alberta are currently discussing how the new testing and quarantine requirements will affect the Alberta Border Testing Pilot Program. More details will be available soon.”

The Alberta pilot project is voluntary for travellers entering Canada through the Calgary International Airport and Coutts border crossing. If a traveller receives a negative COVID test on arrival, they can exit the 14-day quarantine early upon as long as they agree to follow strict health protocols and can provide a second negative test a week after arrival. The program is a joint effort between the provincial and federal governments.

The Alberta program may be superseded by a new federal testing regimen Ottawa says will be coming into effect in the coming days or weeks, but a date has not yet been set.

Currently, international arrivals must be tested for COVID-19 72 hours before departure, but soon, they will also be tested upon arrival at one of four designated airports, spend three days in a quarantine hotel while awaiting their test results, then take a third test near the end of the 14-day quarantine spent at home or other isolation location – with no early exit from quarantine.

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