Will you be travelling to Canada over the coming weeks? The COVID travel rules and restrictions for arrivals to Canada were updated in February 2021, and this includes a mandatory hotel stopover for international arrivals. Do you need to know more about the hotel quarantine in Canada cost, how to book a hotel, and all the latest coronavirus travel advice for Canada? We break it down for you below.
Canada hotel quarantine – What is it?
Starting February 22nd, 2021, all passengers arriving in Canada from abroad, unless exempt, must quarantine in a designated hotel near the airport at their own expense for three nights. This hotel quarantine is currently required because all passengers landing in Canada from an international destination will be asked to take a molecular test for COVID-19 upon arrival. After taking the COVID-19 test, all travellers must immediately go from the airport to their pre-booked government-approved hotel to wait for their test results. Passengers will also be given Day 10 testing kits to use during their two-week quarantine period.
Note that the four Canadian airports serving international passengers at the moment are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary, so the quarantine hotel will be in one of those four cities.
These new restrictions are in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants.
Please note that the mandatory three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel is to be pre-booked before arrival in Canada, and the hotel fees are pre-paid and non-refundable. The hotel stopover is for passengers who don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, have a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result, and who haven’t been in close contact of people who have or may have COVID-19. You can read the full details on the Government of Canada website here.
How much does the hotel quarantine cost?
One of the top questions about hotel quarantine that travellers have is, “How much does the hotel quarantine in Canada cost?”. There are a variety of expenses to keep in mind when it comes to your hotel quarantine in Toronto, Montreal, or whichever city you will be arriving in. The cost of the three-night hotel stay includes three daily meals, and, according to the official government website: transportation from your arrival airport to the hotel, security, and infection prevention and control measures. The price range for the hotel quarantine is between $180-730 per night. There’s also factoring in any additional items you may need, such as extra food orders and entertainment.
How many quarantine hotels are available in Canada?
Unless exempt, you must stay at a government-assigned accommodation (GAA) when arriving in Canada. At the time of writing, there are five Calgary quarantine hotel options, 16 hotels in Montreal, 19 hotel quarantine options in Toronto, and 18 quarantine hotels in Vancouver. For information on approved hotels and how to book one before your arrival to Canada, visit this list of government-authorized hotels for quarantine.
How to book a quarantine hotel in Canada
The most convenient way to book a quarantine hotel in Canada is to do so online. Be aware though that not all hotels offer this option. With some hotels, you’ll have to call them directly to confirm availability. There’s also the possibility to reserve and pay for your three-night hotel stopover through GB Travel Canada Inc. The numbers are: 1-800-294-8253 (toll-free within North America) and 1-613-830-2992 (collect outside of North America) between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
How to prepare for arriving in Canada (before travel)
There are a couple things you’ll have to do for your travel checklist prior to your departure for Canada. Make sure to check all of these off of your list before travelling.
- Book and take a pre-entry COVID test for travel at your current location
- Register for arrival testing at the airport (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, or Calgary)
- Pre-book your GAA hotel quarantine stay
- Plan your accommodation for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine isolation
- All of this can be submitted through ArriveCAN via app or desktop.
- Check the provincial and territory rules in Canada so you’ll be in-the-know of the local guidelines once you arrive
Who needs to quarantine in a hotel?
Effective February 22nd, 2021, all passengers arriving in Canada from an international destination needs to quarantine in a hotel. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of passengers will be asked to stay in quarantine hotels upon immediate arrival in Canada. If someone is caught breaking quarantine, they may be subjected to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
Who is exempt from the mandatory hotel quarantine when entering Canada?
There are exemptions for select individuals for the mandatory hotel stopover. These include the following :
- an unaccompanied minor or unaccompanied dependent child
- already exempt from the requirement to undergo arrival testing
- already exempt from the requirement to quarantine – these include individuals who provide essential services, maintain the flow of essential goods or people, are receiving medical care within 36 hours of entering Canada (non-related to COVID-19) or regularly cross the border to work
Please note that being exempt from hotel quarantine does not mean you’re also exempt from the pre-boarding test requirements.
What services are available at the quarantine hotel?
The hotels have guaranteed to look after all guests by providing meals and items needed for a comfortable stay. There are security professionals on-site who will escort those guests with no symptoms for a wellness walk outdoors (but still on hotel property). Guests have also been able to order food through apps like Tock, Doordash, and Skip The Dishes with hotel staff bringing it up to the guest rooms. Note that all public amenities in the hotel like gyms and pools are not available for guests.
How is COVID testing carried out in a quarantine hotel?
Upon arrival at the airport, passengers will do their first COVID-19 test in Canada. Passengers are also given a Day 10 test kit which will contain everything you need to know about how to collect, store, and ship your sample. Then on day 10 of your mandatory quarantine, you must use the test kit to take your second COVID-19 test. During this time, all travellers must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result. Passengers in Calgary, Vancouver, and Montreal have to register online once they arrive at the quarantine hotel, but passengers in Toronto can register at the airport.
I recently spoke to my friend, Aneta, about her recent arrival experience back into Canada. She and her family landed at Toronto Pearson Airport earlier this March, and they have since completed their three-day hotel quarantine stay and the remainder of the required 14-day quarantine at their home in Oakville, Ontario.
“We landed in Toronto and after collecting our bags and going through customs, we stood in a line to have our nose swab tests done with the Switch Health medical professionals at Toronto Pearson. We had pre-registered for the test through ArriveCAN, and once the test was done, we were given our Day 10 testing kit. On the tenth day of our quarantine we registered for our Day 10 test, and after standing in a virtual queue for six hours, I was able to do my at-home test virtually in front of a nurse.”Aneta, recent traveller to Canada
How do you stay entertained during a hotel quarantine?
Staying indoors in cramped quarters can be intimidating but there are ways to stay sane, healthy, and entertained. While the hotel food is said to be mediocre at best, you can plan a fun Zoom date by ordering some of the best food in Toronto or the city where you’ll be quarantining. Since WiFi is included with your hotel stay, catch up on some Netflix shows, or play some virtual party games with a group of friends and have a few laughs.
If you have some travel-friendly hobbies, pack some supplies with you for your hotel quarantine. Reading, knitting, painting, and drawing are all great options. And of course, don’t forget to arrange some daily wellness walks with your hotel concierge to get some fresh air and a change in scenery.
This page was last updated on March 25th, 2021. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication. For further up-to-date information, please visit https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/isolation.
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Hotel quarantine in Canada: FAQs
International passengers arriving to Canada are required to quarantine for a total of 14 days upon arrival. The first three days of the quarantine should be spent at a designated hotel that’s been pre-booked while passengers await the results of their COVID-19 test given to them at the airport.
While there have been discussions amongst some people in the travel industry that the mandatory hotel stopover will end by the beginning of May 2021, there is currently no tentative end date for when these travel restrictions in Canada will be updated.
All guests must wear a face mask in public areas of the hotel and practice physical distancing from those outside their travel bubble. And in accordance with the public safety guidelines, make sure to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.