Negative COVID-19 test will soon be required at land border: Trudeau

Travellers entering Canada through the land border will soon need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today.

“As of February 15th, when you return to Canada through a land border, you’ll need to show a 72-hour PCR test, just like air travel,” Trudeau said today during his regular morning media briefing outside Rideau Cottage.

The prime minister said border officers can’t legally deny entry to Canadians, including returning snowbirds — but those who show up without proof of a test could face fines of up to $3,000.

“What we can do is in cases of no test to show [is] apply a stiff penalty, a fine and demand and ensure a rapid and complete followup to make sure that they are getting tested, that they are being properly quarantined, that they are not putting at risk the safety of other Canadians by returning home without a clear negative test,” Trudeau said.

The new measure comes more than a month after the government announced air travellers will need proof of negative polymerase chain reaction tests — commonly known as PCR tests — three days before boarding their flights home.

Those landing by plane also will soon need to pay for a test after they land as well. The government promised in late January that all air passengers returning from non-essential trips abroad will have to self-isolate in a federally mandated facility for up to 72 hours at their own expense.

It’s still not clear when those new restrictive measures come into place.

The testing requirement is in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for returning non-essential travellers.

The government has had travel restrictions on most foreign nationals in place since March 2020.

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