Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that non-essential travellers entering the country through the US border will have to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test from next week.
“As of February 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 at his press conference here on Tuesday.
Should Canadians or permanent residents not be able to provide that test result, they could face severe penalties, including fines of up to C$3,000.
The Canada-US border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.
Trudeau said his government will also implement some other new measures to ensure extensive follow up by Health Canada to ensure they are getting tested and properly quarantining.
“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 follow-up 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,” the Prime Minister said.
Tuesday’s announcement comes more than a month after Trudeau announced that air travellers will need proof of negative polymerase chain reaction tests three days before boarding their flights home.
Inbound air travellers need to take a second test when arriving, then quarantine at a government-designated hotel for three days while awaiting their test results.
All are at their own expense.
However, more people are coming into Canada via vehicle than on an airplane.
Data from the Canada Border Services Agency show that 2.9 million people, excluding essential truck drivers, entered through a land border crossing, while 2.4 million arrived by flights since the end of March 2020.
Canada has so far reported a total of 810,166 coronavirus cases and 20,893 deaths.