The Alberta and federal governments are working together on a new pilot program at the Coutts border here in southern Alberta and at the Calgary International Airport (YYC).

The program aims to safely test an alternative to the current 14 day quarantine requirement for international travellers while continuing to protect Canadians from COVID-19.

This is a first-of-its-kind for Canada.

Travellers returning to Canada continue to be legally required to quarantine for 14 days after entering the country. This new pilot program though will explore the feasibility of using a rigorous testing and monitoring program as a strategy to reduce the mandatory quarantine period.

Premier Jason Kenney says this is an important step in Alberta’s Recovery Plan. “This new pilot program will allow those who need to travel for work to have a safe path to a shorter quarantine period. Since the start of this pandemic, Alberta’s government has highlighted the importance to protect lives and livelihoods. Today’s announcement does just that.”

Beginning on November 2nd, COVID-19 testing will be offered initially at two ports of entry into Canada: the Coutts land border crossing and at YYC. Travellers who participate will receive a COVID-19 test upon entry into Canada before proceeding into the required quarantine.

Once the test comes back negative, they will then be allowed to leave their place of quarantine so long as they commit to getting a second test on day six or seven after arrival, at a community pharmacy participating in the pilot program.

Participants will be closely monitored through daily symptoms checks. They will also be required to follow enhanced preventive health measures, such as wearing masks in public places and avoiding visiting high-risk groups.

Eligible candidates must be returning Canadian citizens, permanent residents or foreign nationals currently permitted entry into Canada and who have no symptoms.