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.

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.
 

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.
 

When is the United States land border opening to Canadians?

The White House has confirmed the U.S. land and air border will officially open to fully vaccinated Canadians on Nov. 8. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also clarified that mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be accepted. For now, the Canadian government’s travel rules and restrictions remain unchanged for those returning from the U.S. Canadians will still need to take a molecular COVID-19 test, such as a PCR test, in order to re-enter the country. Further details are expected to be released as the Nov. 8 reopening date approaches.

For more information about this announcement, please refer to the Oct. 12 press release from the United States Department of Homeland Security and to the Summary of Recent Changes article from the CDC. For more information about re-entry into Canada, please refer to the guidelines from the Government of Canada.
 

Does Canada have a standardized proof of vaccination?

On Oct. 21, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the launch of a standard federal proof of COVID-19 vaccination system. As of Oct. 30, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required when travelling in Canada by air, rail or cruise ship and the new Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination may be used to show that you meet this requirement. For more information, visit 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?

In general, travellers five years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. However, the government has recently announced an exemption for short trips. As of Nov. 30, Canadians travelling abroad for less than 72 hours will not need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to return home.

For more details, refer to the Government of Canada COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada article.
 

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).
 

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).