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Covid-19 | Latest News
Posted On November 24, 2020
Autumn El Dewary

Autumn El Dewary

Posted on November 24, 2020


International travellers arriving in Alberta via the Calgary International Airport (YYC) now have the option of taking a free expedited COVID-19 test to avoid the requirement to quarantine for two weeks upon entering the country.

The voluntary expedited test is part of a joint provincial-federal pilot project, the first of its kind in Canada, which began on Nov. 2.  The test is also available for travellers entering Alberta by land at the Coutts border crossing in southern Alberta.

A mandatory, 14-day, quarantine period for returning international travellers will remain, but the new tests will allow for that time to be shortened to 1-2 days if travellers test negative for COVID-19 and commit to a follow-up test in six or seven days after arrival.  To qualify, they are not allowed to travel outside Alberta for 14 days following arrival.

COVID-19 testing in YYC (Source: WESTJET)

Alberta residents and eligible international travellers arriving on a non-stop flight into Calgary can take a test for COVID-19 and possibly reduce their mandatory quarantine to as little as 2 days with a negative test. This includes those connecting to airports within Alberta and essential foreign travellers staying within the province for at least 14 days after arrival but excludes guests returning to schools, healthcare or other vulnerable settings. There is no fee for the test.

The Government of Alberta and Government of Canada have agreed on a 26-week pilot project that will make YYC the exclusive airport for Canada’s first quarantine reduction project that will allow testing to take place on arrival from all international destinations, to reduce quarantine to as little as 2 days from 14 days.

After taking the COVID test, guests must:

  • stay within Alberta after their arrival
  • enter quarantine until test results are delivered in as little as 2 days
    • If the results are negative, guests are no longer required to stay at home. If results are positive, the 14-day quarantine is still required.
  • commit to submitting a second test after 6-7 days for validation and data collection
  • delay returning to childcare programs, K-12 schools or post-secondary institutions until they have their second test and received a negative result
  • avoid health care settings, large gatherings and select workplaces. See all setting restrictions
  • provide daily check-ins
  • wear a mask in public

**This pilot project may be restricted or broadened at any point as the Governments of Canada and Alberta evaluate through the trial.

Guests who do not participate in the pilot must adhere to the 14-day quarantine.

For full pilot project details, visit the Government of Alberta website.

How YYC COVID testing works (Source: WESTJET)

  • Register online with the Alberta Government up to 5 days before you arrive at Calgary International Airport. Go through Canada Customs (CBSA) and the Public Health (PHAC) process on arrival to determine eligibility.
  • If you’re eligible, provide contact details and any other requested information to PHAC for quarantine follow up. It will be helpful to have your Quarantine Plan already documented. All further directions will be provided to you. If you’re not eligible (ex. final destination is outside of Alberta, have symptoms, have had exposure to others with COVID-19, etc.) or choose not to participate, you’ll need to go home and quarantine for 14-days.
  • Because support for this trial is popular, there may be significant wait times. Guests with connections within Alberta (i.e. final destination is within Alberta) can still participate – look for signs with directions.
  • Proceed to the AHS registration desk with your Alberta Health card and Alberta driver’s license (Alberta residents) or passport (all other eligible guests).
  • Complete final registration and receive two test requisitions: 1 for the immediate test, 1 for the test required 6-7 days later.
  • Proceed to take the test and go home to quarantine until advised of the test result within 24-48 hours. Follow all other instructions provided by AHS or PHAC.

If your test results are negative, see how your movement will be restricted without quarantine. If positive, you’ll need to remain in quarantine.

The following information from YYC.com provides additional details about the use of the ArriveCan app (required to register your Quarantine Plan and contact information in advance) and the CanBorder eDeclaration app (to speed-up your processing at the customs kiosks).

COVID-19 testing at YYC (Source: YYC.com)

Arrival Testing – International Border Testing Pilot Program

The Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recently announced a science-based, arrival testing program at YYC, the first of its kind at any Canadian airport.

Eligible arriving international passengers will be able to voluntarily get a free COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada at YYC Calgary International Airport. This will allow them to quarantine for less time provided they test negative for COVID-19 and if they commit to following specific public health and testing measures.

You must be arriving at YYC on a flight from outside Canada to be eligible for the testing. Guests arriving domestically are not eligible (this includes guests who are arriving from an international destination but entered Canada and cleared customs at a different Canadian airport than YYC).

International Border Testing Pilot Program staff are on-site according to airline schedules to accommodate all arriving international flights.

Steps to follow prior to arriving at YYC:

Visit the Government of Alberta’s website to determine if you’re eligible for the International Border Testing Pilot Program.

Steps to follow upon arrival at YYC:

  1. You must fill in the ArriveCAN app form with your quarantine plan and contact info up to 48 hours in advance as of Nov. 21.
  1. Complete your customs declaration with the CanBorder eDeclaration app.
  2. Complete the International Border Testing Pilot Program questionnaire (this can be done up to five days in advance of arriving).

Visit the Government of Alberta’s website for more information on the program.