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COVID-19 test requirement to re-enter Canada draws frustration as U.S. land border reopens

I thought it's one of the stupidest things I've heard,' said Windsorite Doug Ritchie

Canadians can now travel into the United States for non-essential reasons using land border crossings, but are required to take a COVID-19 test in order to return, which can cost up to $330 at some pharmacies.

Canadians are able to use a negative COVID-19 test result received up to 72 hours prior to the expected re-entry into this country.

Doug Ritchie of Tilbury, Ont., just outside of Windsor, said he plans on crossing Monday to pick up boat and car parts he ordered online and shipped to a U.S. address. The items have been sitting there for a year-and-a-half because the borders have been closed up until this point.

Ritchie said he doesn't agree with the testing requirement to get back into Canada.

"I thought it's one of the stupidest things I've heard the government doing," said Ritchie.

In preparation for his trip the day the land border crossing fully re-opens, he went to a pharmacy in Chatham-Kent on Friday for a PCR test, which came back negative. It cost Ritchie $330.

"It's just totally ridiculous," he said. "I could go over there, get infected with COVID, come back here and present my test that I had on Friday and waltz right into Canada. To me that's just stupid."

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires anyone coming into the country to "take a COVID-19 molecular test up to 72 hours before you arrive."

"Antigen tests, often called rapid tests, are not accepted," the CBSA said.

Dr. Stephen Bartol is the chief medical officer of Audacia Bioscience. (Jason Viau/CBC)

His company, Audacia Bioscience, provides different types of COVID-19 testing for travellers.

Starting Monday, they plan to offer Windsorites a testing option in Michigan with fast or same-day results. It'll cost $75 US for a PCR test and you'll get the results emailed to you that day. Or, for $150 US you can get those results in 30 minutes.

The company has set up testing locations near the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, the Ambassador Bridge and at its lab in Plymouth.

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