Register for pilot program

Complete the application form to register to participate in the Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program up to 5 days before you plan to arrive.

Complete the form to register

Travel notices:

  • As of January 7, proof of a negative COVID-19 test result must be presented (either paper or electronic proof of result) to an airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada.
  • All border pilot participants arriving from the UK or South Africa within the last 14 days must quarantine immediately, even if you tested negative.
  • New arrivals from the UK or South Africa are not eligible to participate in the border pilot.

Overview

Eligible international travellers returning to Alberta at select airport and border crossings can participate in the Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program.

  • Participants will be allowed to quarantine for less time if they test negative for COVID-19 and commit to following specific public health and testing measures.
  • All other returning international travellers must legally quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
  • Stronger mandatory measures are in effect provincewide as of Dec. 8, 2020. You are prohibitted from visiting or staying in other people’s homes while these measures are in effect.

The pilot is a first of its kind partnership with the Government and Canada and industry to safely explore ways to reduce the length of quarantine for travellers while still protecting Albertans from COVID-19.

  • Participants will be closely monitored.
  • Pilot program will help inform decisions on new measures for international travel.
  • Tests processed as part of the pilot program will not affect public testing timelines.

There is no cost to participate in the border pilot program. The pilot will run until 52,000 participants are enrolled.

Eligible locations

At this time, the pilot program is only available to international travellers arriving directly to the following locations.

The pilot program may be expanded to other locations in the future.

  • Coutts land border crossing (subject to road conditions)
    • Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm.
    • Make sure to arrive at the border with enough time to clear customs and get to the testing station before 9 pm.
  • Calgary International Airport
    • Hours of operation: 1 hour before the arrival of the first international commercial flight to 2 hours after the arrival of the last international commercial flight.
    • If there are significant delays to flights, testing may not be open and those travellers will not be able to participate in the pilot program.
    • The pilot program is open to passengers on commercial, charter and private flights.

Eligible travellers

Foreign nationals continue to be restricted from entering Canada for optional or discretionary purposes, unless they are a family member or have an exemption.

  • Eligible candidates
    • Returning Canadian citizens or permanent residents
    • Foreign nationals currently permitted entry into Canada (for example, immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents)
    • Travellers exempt from 14-day quarantine, including essential service workers
  • Ineligible candidates
    • Travellers arriving on domestic flights into Calgary International Airport (for example, if you fly from Mexico to Toronto and then to Calgary, you are not eligible to participate)
      • Returning international travellers who have flown to another airport in Canada but did not disembark and did not clear customs prior to arriving at the Calgary International Airport can participate in the program.
    • Non-exempt travellers proceeding to other provinces (participants must stay in Alberta for 14 days after entering Canada, unless they are departing the country directly from Alberta prior to the end of 14 days)
    • Travellers who:
      • have symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of entry to Canada
      • have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last 14 days
        • Healthcare workers who were in close contact with someone with symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19 are eligible to participate in the program as long as they wore proper personal protective equipment that was never breached.
      • do not have an acceptable quarantine plan and/or need to quarantine at a federal quarantine site (does not apply to exempt travellers)

How to participate

  • Step 1. Enrol at the border
    • If you are interested in the pilot, begin completing the online registration form prior to arrival at customs.
    • Proceed to the Canadian Border Service Agency to clear customs and determine eligibility.
    • Once you’re confirmed to be eligible and have received a purple instruction sheet, proceed to the enrollment booth with your completed online form to verify your information.
      • Eligible exempt travellers who wish to participate will be given an orange instruction sheet.
    • Take a COVID-19 test on-site. All tests are throat swabs.
      • Once your first COVID-19 test is complete, you will receive a pink requisition slip with your confirmation number. This document must be presented to a participating pharmacy at the time of your second COVID-19 test.
      • Testing is only available to individuals 4 years old and older. Children under the age of 4 can participate in the pilot program if they follow all other preventative measures. Children under 4 years of age must still register and have their daily symptoms check-in performed for them.
         
  • Step 2. Quarantine and wait for your test result
    • Go to your place of quarantine by land travel or through a connecting flight immediately after getting your first COVID-19 test.
    • While in quarantine, you must complete your daily-symptom check-in.
      • You can only leave quarantine for emergency and urgent care needs
      • Participating travellers must report any change to their place of quarantine by contacting E-Health at the number provided in their check-in information package.
    • Remain in quarantine until you get an a text message or email from Alberta Health Services with your test result (approximately 48 hours). If you choose to receive your test result by email, the message will be encrypted for your privacy. Learn more about viewing encrypted test results.
      • If the test comes back positive - isolate and follow all mandatory restrictions and cooperate with contact tracers to identify close contacts.
      • If the test comes back negative - leave quarantine and follow all required preventative measures, including daily check-ins and taking a second COVID-19 test. You must call a participating pharmacy to book an appointment to obtain a second swab on the sixth or seventh day after arrival.
      • If the test comes back indeterminate - take a re-test or remain in quarantine for the full 14 days. Re-tests can be scheduled by completing the online form. Any participant who tests positive after the re-test must go into isolation.
  • Step 3. Follow preventative measures

    After leaving quarantine, you must follow public health measures until 14 days have passed since your entry to Canada.

    • Stay in Alberta
    • Keep a list of any close contacts
    • Watch for symptoms and complete the daily check-ins. If symptoms develop:
    • Follow all public health measures currently in effect across Alberta
    • Practice physical distancing at all times
    • Must not be in contact with vulnerable people, including people:
      • Over the age of 65
      • with underlying medical conditions
      • with compromised health systems
    • Wear a mask in public and private:
      • indoor settings outside of the home
      • outdoor settings when physical distancing is not possible

    In addition to following these preventative measures, pilot participants must download and use Alberta’s mobile contact tracing app ABTraceTogether when out in public.
     

  • Step 4: Take a second test on day 6 or 7
  • Step 5: Provide feedback
    • You will be sent surveys on days 3 and 13. You will be required to complete these surveys as part of the daily check-in.

    After 14 days, you may freely leave Alberta and are no longer required to submit daily reports.
     

Conditions and restrictions

All participants must:

  • submit daily symptom reports (online or by phone)
  • keep a list of any close contacts for the duration of the pilot program
    • if a participant tests positive, the list must be provided to public health officials
  • book a second test on day 6 or 7 at a participating Shoppers Drug Mart
  • follow preventative measures throughout the 14-day period
  • avoid prohibited settings during the 14-day period
  • avoid contact with anyone who is considered vulnerable
  • download Alberta’s mobile contact tracing app ABTraceTogether and ensure it is operating on your phone when out in public.

Restrictions for specific settings

Participants are prohibited from certain settings during the course of the pilot.

  • School and child care

    Attendees, students and staff cannot go back to these settings until they have their second test and have received a negative result:

    • Child care programs (for example daycare, out of school care)
    • K to 12 schools
    • Post-secondary institutions

     

  • Health care settings

    Pilot participants cannot work at or visit any setting where health care services are provided and there are vulnerable people at risk for severe disease for 14 days. This includes:

    • all outpatient clinics
    • acute care
    • continuing care
    • long term care
    • seniors lodges
  • Workplaces
    • Individuals may only return to work with the permission of the employer and if the employer has implemented COVID-19 measures in accordance with Alberta’s guidelines or direction from provincial or local public health; and provided the worker adheres to the workplace’s COVID-19 public health measures.
    • Individuals cannot return to work for 14 days where vulnerable populations are present as identified above (continuing care, health care, and other clinical settings).
    • Individuals cannot return to high-risk workplaces for 14 days. These include:
      • correctional facilities
      • homeless shelters or temporary housing facilities
      • food processing facilities (for example, meat packing plants)
      • warehouses, distribution facilities (including distribution facilities supporting grocery stores), and assembly line manufacturing facilities (but does not include other industrial production sites where COVID-19 prevention measures are implemented and adhered to, for example, petrochemical production facilities)
    • Work camps (but does not include associated work sites such as petrochemical facilities).
  • Gatherings

    Mandatory restrictions are in effect for Alberta. Indoor social gatherings are currently prohibited, in addition to a number of business and service restrictions.

    For more information, see enhanced public health measures.

  • Group living

    Pilot participants cannot attend or live in group living settings such as homeless shelters, work camps, group homes, student dormitories for 14 days.

Withdrawing and enforcement

Participants can withdraw at any time but must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days even if they have tested negative.

  • If COVID-19 symptoms develop, they must follow Alberta’s public health regulations and guidelines
  • If one traveler in a group withdraws from the Border Pilot Project their entire traveling party, if applicable, is also withdrawn and must quarantine

Any participant who refuses to follow the Border Pilot Project rules will:

  • be removed from the pilot project and must remain in quarantine for the remainder of the 14-day period
  • cause their entire travelling party, if any, to be removed from the pilot project and all must quarantine for the remainder of the 14-day period

Examples of refusal to follow the rules include refusing to complete daily symptom check-ins, leaving quarantine or not getting a day 6 or 7 test. If a participant withdraws and refuses to return to quarantine, the police may be notified.

Exempt travellers

Travelers who are exempt from 14-day quarantine, as determined by CBSA, can participate in the program if they wish.

  • Exempt travellers will be offered testing upon arrival and at Day 6 or 7, on a voluntary basis
  • Exempt travellers who cross the border frequently (for example, daily or weekly) will be offered testing every 3 to 4 weeks
  • Follow-up tests can be performed at Coutts, the Calgary International Airport, or at a community pharmacy
  • Exempt travellers do not need to report daily symptoms or any of the program’s preventative measures, but must follow the restrictions and conditions set out in their original exemption as well as current provincial measures in effect.

Current program numbers

Enrollment numbers and positivity rate for the Border Pilot Program will be posted every Friday.

* The content and format of this preliminary update are subject to change. Final numbers may fluctuate as tests are completed and data updated.
**Not all border pilot participants will receive both COVID-19 tests. Individuals who test positive in the first test and enter isolation or who withdraw from the pilot are not required to receive a second test. Children under 5 years of age are not required to be tested.
Preliminary update (as of January 14, 2021)*
Non-exempt traveller participants: 39,176  
Testing Results** % of positive tests
1st test at port of entry 1.48%
2nd test 0.74%
Total 1.15%

Why we’re doing it

Safely exploring ways to resume travel is an important step in Alberta’s economic recovery. The pilot program will help us collect critical information that will ensure changes to public health measures are informed by strong scientific evidence. Strong measures will be kept in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Contact

Connect with the International Border Testing Pilot Program:

Email: [email protected]