Canada Requires Returning Citizens To Have Negative PCR-RT Test Or Face Fines Up To C$3,000 Each

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Canada began requiring all travelers by air to have a negative Covid-19 PCR-RT test performed no more than 72-hours of departure from February 4, 2021 (read more here).

Now, Canada will require all non-essential travelers at the land border to provide one from February 15, 2021, or face fines up to C$3,000 each, including its citizens and residents.

You can access the Government of Canada’s page for Coronavirus & travel here.

Here’s an excerpt from CBC:

Non-essential 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 Feb.15, 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,  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.

A large number of “essential” workers (truckers) are exempt:

Most of the people who cross into Canada are actually exempt from quarantine, largely because they are considered essential workers.

The Canada Border Services Agency said that between March 31, 2020 and Jan. 24, 2021, close to 8.7 million travellers came to Canada; 74 per cent of them were exempt from the 14-day quarantine measures. The number is even higher at the land border alone: 92 per cent of those crossing the border were exempt during that time period.

About 4.3 million travellers — almost half the overall number — were truck drivers, said the border agency.

Conclusion

This is starting to get somewhat unreasonable. Like most countries, Canada cannot prevent its citizens from entering if they present themselves at the land border.

Why not have Covid-19 testing available at the most trafficked land borders like what the government has planned to implement at airports?

Most people coming by land are excluded from the negative test anyway because they are deemed “essential” and are equally likely to spread the Covid-19 than returning citizens who soon face hefty fines.

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