International travellers and COVID-19: FAQs for federal retirees

Planning to enter Canada?

We’ve collected the most common COVID-19 travel questions we’ve received from members, so we can help you find the answers.
 

We all know that now is not the time to travel but, for those who must, we hope this page offers the guidance and further resources you need.

If you intend to travel during this time, plan ahead! Be sure to look into the travel measures and restrictions that affect you as well as any changes or updates to the coverage provided by your travel insurance well before you leave.

For the most up-to-date information, always refer to the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 travel resources.

 

Can I enter Canada?

First things first, you may want to know whether you are eligible for entry into Canada. The Government of Canada has created a helpful tool – the Travel Wizard. You can answer a few questions online to find out if you may be allowed to enter the country. Visit the travel wizard tool online to get started.
 

I’m planning to enter Canada by air. What do I need to know?

There are several things you will be required to do if you are planning to fly into Canada such as wearing a mask, obtaining an authorized COVID-19 test, entering your travel information through ArriveCAN and planning for your 14-day quarantine including booking your hotel for a 3-night stay upon arrival.

The Government of Canada has itemized everything you need to do before your departure, during transit and upon arrival. You can view this information as a list or as a handy printable PDF.
 

I’m planning to enter Canada by land. What do I need to know?

There are several things you will be required to do if you are planning to drive into Canada such as wearing a mask, obtaining an authorized COVID-19 test, entering your travel information through ArriveCAN and planning for your 14-day quarantine.

The Government of Canada has itemized everything you need to do before your departure, during transit and upon arrival. You can view this information as a list or as a handy printable PDF.
 

How does the mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine work?

International travellers arriving in Canada will be required to pay for and undergo a COVID-19 test and to remain quarantined at their own expense for up to three days in a government-approved hotel pending the receipt of negative test results. Travellers will then be permitted to continue their travel to their destination and complete the balance of the 14-day quarantine while complying with public health requirements. The hotel quarantine measures came into effect on Feb. 22, 2021.

Your hotel quarantine must be carried out in a hotel authorized by the government near one of the four airports to which international flights are currently being funneled – the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, the Toronto Pearson International Airport, the Calgary International Airport or the Vancouver International Airport. Some of the hotels offer direct online booking for government-authorized accommodation. For the other hotels, you must identify that you require accommodation for the COVID-19 mandatory 3-night stopover to ensure you're properly booked. Travellers will be required to present proof of having reserved and pre-paid for their accommodation through ArriveCAN.

To learn which hotels are authorized, visit the federal government’s booking list. Hotels that offer direct online booking for the COVID-19 mandatory 3-night stopover are indicated in the list.

For more information about the mandatory hotel quarantine measures for air travellers, refer to information from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For more detailed information about booking your stay at a government-authorized hotel, refer to the federal government’s mandatory hotel stopover FAQs.
 

What’s ArriveCAN?

ArriveCAN is an app to provide your mandatory travel information to the Canadian government. The ArriveCAN app is available for download onto your iOS or Android device or can be accessed through the online portal.

After you submit your information through ArriveCAN, a Canadian border services officer will ask to see it. Ensure you have access to the receipt. You can show your ArriveCAN receipt from the app as a screenshot, from your email or a with a paper printout.

To find out more, visit ArriveCAN online.
 

Am I exempt from the quarantine restrictions?

The list of Canadians who are exempt from the travel restrictions is very limited. People who might be exempt include essential workers, people transporting essential goods, people living in trans-border communities and people receiving medical care not related to COVID-19. Learn more about quarantine exemptions from the Government of Canada online.
 

What types of COVID-19 tests are accepted by the Government of Canada?

For a list of accepted types of molecular tests, as well as information about providing proof of testing, refer to the federal government’s Flying to Canada page or its Driving to Canada page.
 

I have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Do I still need to take a test before entering Canada?

Yes. All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Currently, proof of vaccination does not replace a valid test result. Find out more on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 travel page.
 

What’s the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad?

The Government of Canada created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad as a temporary financial assistance program to help Canadians travelling outside Canada to return home or to shelter in place while they arrange to return to Canada.

This emergency repayable loan can be up to $5,000 and is intended to cover your short-term needs while you work toward returning home as well as the costs of your travel back to Canada. Each application is assessed individually.

Find out more about the loan by visiting the federal government’s FAQ page for the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.
 

Do the PSHCP temporary measures for COVID-19 affect me?

The PSHCP temporary extension of emergency travel benefits measure that expands trip duration coverage only applies to members and their eligible dependants who left their home province or territory between Jan. 17 and March 16, 2020, and are unable to return home. The standard Out-of-Province Benefit trip duration of 40 days, along with the normal plan maximum of $500,000 (CAD) in eligible medical expenses incurred as a result of an emergency while travelling, applies to any member and eligible dependant who travel out of their province or territory after March 17, 2020.

For more about these temporary measures, refer to the PSHCP update from the Government of Canada. 
 

What do I need to know about the PSHCP Out-of-Province Benefit in light of COVID-19?

The Out-of-Province Benefit provides coverage to PSHCP members and their dependants while travelling. The PSHCP Administration Authority released an article about the Out-of-Province Benefit for members with supplementary coverage offering important information and reminders for those considering upcoming travel. A second article was published Feb. 21, 2021, with additional information about travelling in times of COVID-19.

If you have questions regarding the PSHCP Out-of-Province Benefit, please contact the PSHCP Call Centre at 1-888-757-7427 (toll-free) or 613-247-5100 (in the National Capital Region).
 

What do I need to know about the PSHCP Emergency Benefit While Travelling in light of COVID-19?

According to the Emergency Benefit While Travelling, a medical emergency resulting from COVID-19 will be treated in the same way as any other medical emergency outside Canada. However, there are expenses that are not eligible under the PSHCP including:

  • expenses incurred as a result of trip cancellations or changes.
  • expenses incurred as a result of a quarantine if you have to remain abroad longer than expected and you or your eligible dependants do not contract COVID-19.
  • repatriation expenses arranged by Canada.

For more information, refer to the news release from the PSHCP Administration Authority.

With the Emergency Travel Assistance Benefit, you have access to around-the-world services through Allianz Global Assistance. For help with medical, legal or other travel-related emergencies, call the 24-hour toll-free number:

  • 1-800-667-2883 in Canada and United States
  • 519-742-1342 in all other countries (collect)

For more details about PSHCP emergency assistance benefits, refer to information from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
 

How does COVID-19 affect my MEDOC travel insurance through Johnson Insurance?

COVID-19 has changed a lot about travelling, but the Johnson MEDOC team’s dedicated support of Federal Retirees and its members remains the same.

On Oct. 21, 2020, we published a letter detailing the benefits of MEDOC and the work the MEDOC team has done to continue its excellent support of Federal Retirees members. We encourage you to read that article in our newsfeed.

For detailed information about MEDOC travel insurance including questions pertaining to vaccinations or trip cancellation insurance, please refer to Johnson Insurance’s COVID-19 updates page or contact the MEDOC team at 1-855-772-6675 (toll-free).
 

Am I entitled to anything as a result of the federal government’s financial relief package for Air Canada announced on April 12?

On April 12, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the federal government will provide Air Canada with up to $5.9 billion through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), a program aimed at supporting large Canadian employers who have lost revenue due to COVID-19. In exchange for federal government support, Air Canada has agreed to a number of commitments, including refunds for passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resumption of regional service that was suspended or cancelled, job protection for the airline’s remaining employees and protections for employees’ pensions.

Air Canada is offering refunds to all eligible customers with tickets for travel dates on or after Feb. 1, 2020, and who purchased their ticket before April 13, 2021. Customers can request a refund online at aircanada.com/refund until June 12, 2021, or through their travel agent. Refer to the news release from Air Canada for details on refunds for fares, or to the Department of Finance news release for more information about the relief agreement. For the most up-to-date information on this evolving issue, visit Air Canada online.
 

I have another question about travelling. Who can I ask?

The federal government has introduced the Ask Travel page, an online tool where you can check a drop-down list of questions, browse questions by category or type a keyword to find the answers to questions often asked by Canadians who are travelling outside Canada.

If you have a question not answered by the Ask Travel tool, don’t worry. Travel.gc.ca brings the web content and services of 12 federal government departments and agencies together into a single website. To learn more about which department is the right one to help you, and how to reach that department by telephone, email or post, visit the questions and feedback page on travel.gc.ca.

You can also reach the government’s COVID-19 information line by phone at 1-833-784-4397 (1-800-465-7735 TTY).