Before you plan to travel abroad, keep in mind that you’ll probably need a PCR test for Canadian tourists, apart from COVID-19 travel insurance.
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Health Canada recommends not traveling unless it is strictly necessary. However, there are many countries where Canadians can travel now. Therefore, we want to help you find where to get a COVID-19 test for traveling in Canada. Currently, the molecular (PCR) swab test is the most accurate, and it’s the only one that all airlines/countries accept.
Moreover, most Fit to Fly certificates in Canada (also known as “travel clearance certificates”) require pre-flight coronavirus tests. This guide will tell you where to get a COVID-19 test for traveling in Canada.
Before we dive in, it’s important to keep in mind that antigen and rapid tests, while becoming more popular, aren’t as reliable as the PCR tests for travel. Besides, when comparing COVID-19 tests, most countries require the PCR swab test and corresponding Fit to Fly certificates.
Finally, it’s worth noting that free coronavirus tests typically apply to those who are currently sick but not for travelers. You’ll likely have to pay out-of-pocket if you want COVID-19 testing for travel in Canada.
Best places to get an in-person PCR test for travel in Canada
Depending on which province you live in, it may be easier to find a PCR test near you. This section will help you find on-site and at-home COVID testing for traveling.
COVID-19 test for travel – across the country
Currently, there are a few major pharmacies and companies offering PCR tests for travel in Canada. Shoppers Drug Mart, Switch Health, and Ichor Blood Services have locations throughout the country.
Keep in mind that many local clinics and labs provide mail-in COVID tests for traveling as well as on-site testing. Some of them distribute Fit to Fly certificates, but others do not so be sure to check beforehand.
1. Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart is doing COVID testing for travel clearance at stores in Alberta (CAD 150), and Ontario (CAD 199). Results are typically available within 24-48 hours.
2. Switch Health
Switch Health has several locations in Ontario, offering travel clearance COVID tests. The results arrive within 48 hours, and the cost is CAD 180.80.
3. Ichor Blood Services
Ichor Blood Services does PCR fit-to-travel tests for CAD 250. The results arrive in 72 hours, and the lab has locations in Alberta, New Brunswick, and Ontario.
Best Canadian labs to get a quick PCR test for travel
Results turnaround time
|Best Canadian labs to get a quick PCR test for travel|
This list of labs and clinics offering PCR fit-to-travel tests is constantly changing, so we’ll keep updating this list as the pandemic progresses.
COVID-19 test for travel in Canada – province by province
The labs we have mentioned above operate nationwide, but they can quickly become overcrowded or may be too far for some residents. To make it easier to find a quick PCR COVID test for travel in Canada, here is a list of available labs across the provinces.
Where to get a COVID test in Alberta
- Calgary: Ichor Blood Services does PCR tests for travelers in Calgary, AB. The cost is CAD 250, and clients will receive their results in 72 hours.
- Edmonton: You can get a PCR test for travel in Edmonton at a DynaLife lab. The cost is CAD 150, and the results take 24-48 hours.
Where to get a COVID test in British Columbia
- Vancouver: Iridia Medical is offering PCR tests for travel in Vancouver for CAD 342. The results take about 72 hours to arrive.
- Ultima Medical Services has locations throughout British Columbia, including the YVR Medical Clinic in Richmond. The company offers Health Canada-approved PCR tests for travel in Vancouver and other cities in BC. The cost is CAD 300 but, due to demand, results can take several days.
Where to get a COVID test in Manitoba
- You can get a COVID test for travel clearance in Winnipeg at Red River College‘s drive-thru site.
- Walk-in PCR tests for travel in Winnipeg are also available at Dakota Medical Centre. You can contact the clinic for pricing information.
Where to get a COVID test in New Brunswick
- Fredericton: Ichor Blood Services has a location in Fredericton for PCR testing for travel. The tests cost CAD 250 and yield results in 72 hours.
Where to get a COVID test in Newfoundland and Labrador
- Residents need to book a PCR test for travel in Newfoundland through Public Health. Once they schedule their appointment, they’ll be able to access a list of testing sites near them.
Where to get a COVID test in Nova Scotia
- Halifax: Dartmouth General Hospital is doing drive-through COVID testing for travel.
Where to get a COVID test in Ontario
- You can get a PCR test for travel in Ottawa at Riverside Travel Medical Clinic. The average wait time for results is 48 hours, and the test costs CAD 189.
- Niagara Falls: Ichor Blood Services has a location in Niagara Falls for PCR testing for travel. The tests cost CAD 250 and yield results in 72 hours.
Where to get a COVID test in Prince Edward Island
- If you need a PCR test for travel clearance in Prince Edward Island, schedule an appointment at one of these Public Health clinics. Then, contact Queen Elizabeth Hospital with your travel dates, so they know when to email you your results.
Where to get a COVID test in Quebec
- Montreal: Canada Home Doctors provides at-home PCR tests for travel in Montreal for CAD 279. Registered nurses will conduct the test in the client’s home and patients will receive the results within 24-48 hours.
- Another option for PCR testing for travel in Montreal is DynaCare. There are two locations in the city, and the PCR test costs CAD 135. Individuals can expect results within 48 hours.
- Quebec City: Individuals can get a PCR test for travel in Quebec with SecuriMed. The cost is CAD 179, and the results take about 48 hours.
Where to get a COVID test in Saskatchewan
- Regina: There is a drive-thru clinic at Lewvan and 11th Avenue offering quick PCR tests for travel in Regina. Operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the tests will yield results in several days.
- Saskatoon: The mobile clinic at 3630 Thatcher Avenue is another Saskatchewan Health Authority site offering PCR tests for travel.
Best labs to get an at-home PCR test for travel in Canada
If you’re worried about contracting the virus at a lab or clinic, you might want to consider at-home COVID testing for traveling. Several companies offer this service, which involves a registered nurse coming to your home to conduct the PCR swab test. They’ll then take the sample to the lab, and you’ll receive the results in a matter of days.
Canada Home Doctors provides at-home COVID tests for traveling for CAD 279 per person. The PCR test kits are licensed by Health Canada and yield results in 24-48 hours. The clinic serves the Greater Montreal Area, including South Shore, North Shore, West Island, and the East End.
Switch Health also offers at-home COVID testing for travel. These services are available in Ontario and cost CAD 180.80. Clients must schedule their test at least 48 hours in advance, and the results come within two days.
Best Canadian airports to get a PCR test before your trip
A few airports in Canada are doing pre-flight COVID-19 tests, although their procedures may differ.
Calgary International Airport
Calgary International Airport has partnered with DynaLIFE Medical Labs to provide PCR testing for CAD 150, with results within 72 hours.
Air Canada has collaborated with Shoppers Drug Mart to offer passengers PCR tests for travel. The tests cost CAD 199 and take 24-48 hours to produce results.
Vancouver International Airport
WestJet has also partnered with DynaLIFE to provide PCR tests for travel. The cost is CAD 150 per person, and the test is available in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario for passengers traveling to Hawaii.
Ultima Medical Service does quick PCR COVID tests for travelers at the Vancouver Airport. The clinic is in the Domestic Terminal Building at Level 1. The cost is CAD 300.
Top 10 tips to get a quick pre-travel COVID-19 test for Canadian travelers
Before making an appointment to get a quick pre-travel COVID test for travel in Canada, check out these tips:
- Once you have your travel dates, plan accordingly so you get your PCR travel test results in time. Too early, and you might get the virus before your trip. Too late, and you won’t have the results in time for your trip.
- You may prefer to schedule a PCR test for travel at two different labs in Canada so you can be sure you’ll get the results in time.
- Consider a mail-in COVID test for traveling to avoid getting yourself sick.
- Be sure you’re getting the molecular PCR test. It’s currently the most accurate, and it’s the test most airlines and countries open for tourism require.
- You can call ahead to see if your insurance covers the test, but most policies don’t cover PCR tests for travel.
- Keep updated with the airlines so you know the current testing requirements and timetables.
- Double-check whether your destination requires a negative PCR test for travel clearance and/or a Fit to Fly certificate.
- If you’re short on time, look for pop-up testing sites in your area.
- Get all your paperwork in order, including your certified test results and Fit to Fly certificate for Canadian travelers, if necessary. Check if your destination requires physical copies or if digital is okay.
- Plan enough time in your trip for any necessary quarantine restrictions before or after your flight.
If you still have any questions about COVID testing for travel clearance in Canada, you’ll probably find the answer in these FAQs below.
The molecular PCR test detects the presence of genetic material related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). This is an entry requirement in many countries for Canadian travelers.
Those who are experiencing COVID symptoms or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 should get tested. Moreover, if you plan to travel, be aware that most countries require a negative PCR test.
You can find a clinic near you to get a pre-flight COVID-19 test (Shoppers Drug Mart, Switch Health, etc.) or order a mail-in kit from one of the clinics that offers this service.
Most countries require a travel clearance certificate. However, not all clinics provide this certificate, so double-check the clinics near you.
Most countries require the molecular PCR test, not the antibody or rapid test. Each country has different entry requirements, so you should check with the country that you are visiting before your trip.
Pricing varies depending on your insurance coverage. Keep in mind that many insurance companies won’t cover a non-essential test, so plan accordingly for out-of-pocket costs. Tests typically range from CAD 100 – 300.
Shoppers Drug Mart, Switch Health, and Ichor Blood Services are offering PCR COVID testing for air travel throughout Canada. There are also many clinics operating within each province, some of which do mail-in COVID tests for travelers. Moreover, some airlines are offering tests at different international airports.
I hope this guide helps you find a PCR test for travel in your area in Canada. Remember to plan accordingly and always follow the travel advisories and safety procedures before, during, and after your trip.
If you have any questions about COVID testing for travel clearance in Canada, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help!