New Alberta pilot to reduce quarantine period via testing

Today, the Government of Alberta announced a new pilot that has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of time that travelers into Alberta must quarantine.

Currently, subject to some limited specific exceptions, anyone who enters Canada must legally quarantine for 14 days.

Starting on November 2, a new pilot program will provide travelers entering Alberta from outside Canada with the option of engaging in a new testing protocol.

The new pilot will initially only be available to individuals entering Alberta via Calgary International Airport and the Coutts Land Border Crossing (between Alberta and Montana).

Upon arriving at one of these locations, travelers will be given the option of receiving a COVID-19 test before entering quarantine.  The province is targeting a 48 hour turnaround for these tests to be processed.  Upon receiving a negative test result, the participating traveler would be allowed to leave quarantine as long as they commit to undergoing another test between days 6 and 7 after arrival.  Participating travelers will be required to provide daily symptom check-ins and follow some enhanced preventative health measures.  Should any symptoms arise participating travelers will be required to immediately isolate and contact Alberta Health. Participating travelers will also be required to remain in Alberta for 14 days after arrival.

The Government of Alberta hopes that the pilot program will be expanded to Edmonton International Airport by February 2021.

This new pilot will likely encourage more Albertans to engage in international travel, whether for business or pleasure, by reducing the length of time that they must quarantine before being able to return to their regular lives.

The new measures will not, however, make it easier for individuals to enter Canada. While Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the unrestricted right to re-enter Canada, there are still significant travel restrictions which dictate what types of individuals are permitted to temporarily enter Canada to work, study, or visit.

Feel free to contact a member of McCuaig Desrochers’ Immigration Practice Group should you have any questions about travel and immigration into Canada and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.