You are currently viewing Official rules: Entering Canada by land with a positive test (or without a test)

Canada’s rules are clear: As a Canadian, you cannot be denied entry by land. Even if you have an invalid positive test (not old enough) or no test at all. BUT it is against the rules and you could be fined up to $5,000 (among other punishments). Is the fine rule really enforced? We’re not really fans of subjective speculation without verifiable facts…

So here are those facts.


Canada’s rules

Canada’s rules that apply if you test positive are very clear if you return by air, as we shared last week in our guide on what happens if you test positive while traveling.

As for returning by land, the rules are clear… but they don’t seem to be enforced. The government is still trying to make it complicated, I guess.

Here’s what we shared on our Facebook page again this week, a post from the official government page that is very clear.



Like many, I also think that the fine the government mentions is probably not issued very often if you are in your own car and you commit to go self-isolate home directly and have a good quarantine plan entered into Canada’s ArriveCAN app.

But that’s purely subjective.

What is objective is what we’ve written in our guide.

Those are the rules: A fine of up to $5,000 is possible if you don’t have a negative test or if you don’t wait the required 11 days after a positive test to enter.

Many people have told us that they came back with a positive test, without a fine. Good for you. I sincerely hope it’s that way for everyone.

But Flytrippers cannot say that’s true… because that’s not what the rules say at all, quite the opposite.

In fact, before we even did last week’s article, Flytrippers had even officially reconfirmed with Health Canada media relations.

They reconfirmed exactly what is written on the official government website unfortunately.

Here are the official rules.

Official rules (image credit: Government of Canada)



And here is the exact quote from their official email reply:

A positive test result obtained within 14 days (0-13 days) would not be considered a valid test result as per the current Emergency Order in Council (OIC). As such, the traveller would not be compliant with the OIC and may be subject to enforcement measures (fine; prosecution; designated quarantine facility)

Speaking of the “gulags” (officially “designated quarantine facilities”), those secret spots whose location the government refuses to disclose… that must be really only for those who have no quarantine plan at all. It’s taxpayer-funded, in case you were wondering.

As for Canadians who enter without a test at all, then maybe the odds of getting a fine are higher too. And the odds of facing criminal prosecution too… but it’s far from guaranteed, based on the many testimonials we’ve received.

We reached out to Health Canada again to ask:

  • If this fine is really enforced
  • If by chance only those who do not have an acceptable quarantine plan are subject to this fine
  • Why so many travelers are telling us they entered without a fine
  • Why don’t the customs officers themselves talk about the fine
  • How many travelers were fined out of the number that entered with a positive test

We are waiting for their answer.

But the official rules of Canada, if you know how to read, you can read just like we did in the screenshot above or on the link. It is very clear that you could be “may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000”.

We prefer to share the facts and official rules with you, as we have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic in our ultimate guide to pandemic travel.

If you happen to have a specific story of entering Canada by land while positive recently, feel free to share it in the comments below so other travelers can get an idea of the risk by reading whether or not you were fined.

Until then, the government website is clear that a fine is “possible.”

It really doesn’t seem as strict as almost all other travel rules, which are very strict (for example, if you don’t meet the pre-departure test requirement, it’s 100% certain you won’t get on the plane)… but that’s the rule that is written on their website.


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Entering Canada by land while positive (without having waited the required 14 days) is certainly allowed, but the rules explicitly state that a fine could be imposed… although it is probably not imposed very often. Again, the Canadian government seems to be doing everything it can to confuse people. 

What would you like to know about entering by land while positive? Tell us in the comments below.


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Featured image: Canadian land border (photo credit: Paulo O)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jane

    Thanks for the clarification. I too called and spoke to health Canada and they said it is highly unlikely to be fined unless you are being dishonest in any way. We feel more confident now in proceeding with our planned February land travel to the USA.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Yeah all the many testimonials we got from travelers is that it’s not applied very often, if ever.

  2. Lina Santos

    Thank-you for reaching out to Heath Canada to get clear answers to these new rules. I hope they answer you, and that more media outlets pick up on this and put pressure on the Canadian government that this is not OK.

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