Pre-departure testing requirement for passengers travelling to Canada

Posted on 01/05/2021 | About Canada, Canada

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Transport Canada recently announced updated entrance requirements for all guests arriving into Canada. Effective January 6, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) test before travelling from another country to Canada.

Guest requirements

To comply with this regulation, WestJet will require guests to present a negative PCR or RT-LAMP test (either on paper or electronically) before boarding, taken within 72 hours from their scheduled flight departure time to Canada, in order to board the aircraft. Valid test results must include:

  • A negative test result
  • Guest name and date of birth
  • Name of lab that administered the test
  • Civic address of the laboratory that administered the test
  • The date and time the test was conducted
  • Testing method

It is the responsibility of each guest to ensure they have all valid travel documents required to meet the entry requirements. Guests will also be required to show all documentation to a Canada Border Services Agent when clearing Canada Customs.

If the guest is eligible to travel, this added requirement does not replace the existing quarantine requirements upon arrival into Canada. Those interested in the Calgary testing trial can continue to participate to possibly reduce the length of their quarantine.

96-hour (four day) testing exception 

The Government of Canada has put a temporary exception in place for some countries to allow a negative test to be completed within 96 hours of the scheduled departure of the flight that is entering Canada. This exception is only in place until 12:01 a.m. ET on January 14, 2021. After that time, all tests must have been completed within 72 hours of scheduled departure. This applies to flights departing Aruba, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

Testing facility information

It is the responsibility of the guest to source their own valid PCR or RT-LAMP test and ensure the available timing of the test will satisfy these entry requirements before paying for a test. To support guests who are currently out of country or who are planning a trip out of country, we have compiled a list of providers who have advised that they are able to provide tests to Canadians in many of the destinations we fly to. For a list of available testing facilities, visit PCR test.

If a guest's destination is not on this list, they will be required to source their own valid test. This list will continue to be updated as more information becomes available and guests are encouraged to check back regularly.


The cost for a PCR or RT-LAMP test will vary by testing facility and is payable by the guest. It is the responsibility of the guest to source their own valid test and ensure the available timing of the test will satisfy these entry requirements before paying for a test.

Changes to self-serve check-in for departures to Canada

Self-serve check-in will be updated to allow guests to add their travel documents and select seats; however, they will not be able to add/pay for baggage or receive a boarding pass and will be directed to see a WestJet agent at the airport. The WestJet agent will verify that the guest has the required documentation to travel and once confirmed, will issue a boarding pass/baggage tags. Please encourage your clients to arrive at the airport with sufficient time to check in before departure.

Denied boarding

A guest will be denied boarding if:

  • They are unable to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-LAMP test taken within 72 hours prior their scheduled flight.
  • Their test results are inconclusive.
  • They tested positive for COVID-19. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 will be ineligible to travel. Please contact TuGo Insurance to discuss eligibility.

Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) denied boarding compensation will not apply for these cases.

If you need to change your flight as a result of requiring more time to obtain a test or as a result of being denied boarding, please call our Travel Support Team at 905-799-3000 to discuss rebooking options.

If you chooses to cancel as a result of not being able to obtain a negative COVID-19 test, the ticket will remain in open (unused) status as a flight credit for future travel.

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