Do I need to pre-register for a COVID test before arriving in Canada?
I am returning to Canada soon and understand that I have to take COVID tests both at the land border and during my 14 day quarantine. I have been told that in order to make the process smoother, I should pre-register with the COVID test provider before I return to Canada. Is this necessary?
You must create an account with your testing provider before taking your arrival test at the land border or airport, and while it is possible to register an account when you arrive at the land border or airport, creating your account in advance will save time and streamline the process.
Make sure you use the same email address you used for your ArriveCAN account.
Arriving by Land
Switch Health has been hired by the Public Health Agency of Canada to manage the COVID-19 testing and kits upon arrival at all land border crossings, as well as the self-administered COVID test you will be required to perform home on Day 8 of your 14 day quarantine.
Arriving by Air
For snowbirds returning by air, the following companies are managing testing upon arrival at the four airports currently open for international arrivals:
- Montreal – Biron Groupe Santé
- Toronto – Switch Health (this also registers you in advance for your Day 8 test)
- Calgary – Government of Alberta
- Vancouver – LifeLabs
Switch Health has also been hired to manage the self-administered COVID test you will be required to perform home on Day 8 of your 14 day quarantine for all travellers arriving by air, with the exception of Alberta.
Self Administered Test on Day 8 of Your 14 Day Quarantine
Regardless of whether you arrive by land or air, you will be given a test kit to take a test at home on Day 8 of your 14 day quarantine. This must be done under the supervision of your testing provider.
There are many reports of long wait times on the Switch Health lines to take your Day 8 test, as well as delays in getting results - and even some tests going missing.
Be sure to keep a record of the number on your vials that you provide to Switch Health. This is the ONLY way that you can trace a missing test (they can’t trace your tests by your name).
The bad news is, if your Day 8 test is delayed or lost, you will have to remain in quarantine until you get the negative test results, which could mean you have to stay in quarantine for more than 14 days.
You can get more information about COVID-19 testing when arriving in Canada and Day 8 testing during your 14 day quarantine here:
Flying to Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying-canada-checklist/covid-19-testing-travellers-coming-into-canada?utm_campaign=gac-amc-covid-20-21&utm_source=travel-covid_travel-restrictions_flying_&utm_medium=redirect&utm_content=en#register