Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek


By Atty. Henry Moyal


The national lockdown due to Covid’s second wave may have kept most at home and somber but as the world ushered in a new year, Canada Immigration was busy planning changes in the first week of 2021.

Highlights are:

  • New Home Child Care Pilot Program (HCCP) has re-opened. As many are aware, the annual 2750 quota for HCCP applicants was filled towards the end 2020 and the government site warned applicants that the program was full and to wait until 2021. On January 4, 2021 that warning was removed paving the way for another 2750 hopeful applicants in the year 2021.


  • The much awaited Parent / Grandparent Sponsorship program has opened and those who applied in 2020 are now being selected in the lottery style system. Only 10,000 applications will be selected and the random draws commenced January 5, 2021 over a ten day period.


  • Applicants who lost status in Canada and cannot leave due to Covid or chose not to leave have until August 31, 2021 to restore their status. Eligible applicants are only those whose status ( either as a visitor or worker or student) expired or will expire between January 30, 2020 to May 21, 2021. The regular statutory period for restoration is 90 days. The new rule gives applicants much more time to restore status.


  • Effective January 7, 2021 all persons entering Canada who are over the age of 5 must present documentary evidence of a negative PCR Covid-19 test result taken within the last 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada. This requirement is in addition and separate from the mandatory 14 day quarantine plan requirement. The sudden impact on travelers caught many off guard and caused great confusion especially during the holidays. The following Q & A should clarify some of the most common questions.


Will all air passengers travelling to Canada be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result?

Starting January 7, 2021, anyone flying to Canada from another country, unless exempted, will be required to provide written or electronic documentation showing they received a negative result from a COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to their scheduled boarding.

The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Without a negative COVID-19 test, travelers will be denied boarding onto their flight.

Is the 72 hours starting at the beginning of the trip or the scheduled time arriving in Canada? Is the time related to the time of the test, or when the results are provided?

A COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test must have been conducted within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada. In other words, the specimen should be within three days prior to the flight, with the expectation that the results will come in the intervening period.

This timing recognizes that it may take a few days for passengers to receive their results following a PCR test. In addition, flights may be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, outside the air carrier’s control.

What will happen if travelers can’t get a COVID-19 test in the country they are in? Can they still board a flight and get tested in Canada? Is there another option in Canada when they land if they are not able to get a COVID-19 test abroad?

Persons who are travelling from a country where PCR testing is unavailable will be required to report to a designated Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine facility for the duration of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Delays in obtaining test results does not apply.

Which COVID-19 tests are official/acceptable?

The test result must be from a lab accredited by an external organization (e.g., a government, a professional association or ISO accreditation). Only written or electronic proof of a negative lab test result (PCR test) conducted within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada will be accepted.

Will passengers still require temperature checks with this new requirement in place?

At this time, yes. All existing health requirements, including health check questions, temperature screening and the wearing of masks on board flights to Canada remain in place.

Can the airline refuse boarding if a traveler doesn’t have / can’t get a test? 

Yes. Unless otherwise exempt, presentation of a valid negative test to the airline will be a condition of boarding a flight to Canada and therefore, an airline will be required to refuse boarding to travelers that are unable to demonstrate this.

Who is exempted from this requirement?

Those exempted from this requirement include children who are not five years of age or older.

Other exemptions include:

a)  a crew member or a person who seeks to enter Canada only to become such a crew member

b)  Emergency service providers

c)  Technical stops – flights refueling


Would a proof of the vaccine replace the test?

At this time, proof of having a vaccine will not replace a negative test result. While a vaccine protects an individual from illness, further evidence is required to understand if a vaccinated person can still shed virus.

Why won’t the pre-boarding testing reduce quarantine measures?

Pre-boarding testing is another measure adding to our layers of protection but it can still miss some COVID-19 infections. The 14-day quarantine is the most effective measure we know for limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Who will pay for the cost of a PCR test abroad?

Travelers should contact their travel insurance provider (whether they have a group, an individual or a credit-card type of insurance) to find out what their COVID-19 related medical expenses coverage include.

For travelers who do not have travel insurance, we strongly recommend they get insurance immediately and make sure that it covers for COVID-19-related medical expenses, other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses, as well as trip cancellation and interruption. Read the fine prints and verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy.

Otherwise, travelers are expected to cover any cost related to being tested and obtaining the proof of their test result.


Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.
The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.
Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email or call 416 733 3193