Voluntary Covid-19 testing coming to Coutts crossing

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COUTTS, Alta. – A pilot project in Alberta will soon offer commercial drivers and other international travelers access to voluntary Covid-19 tests at the Coutts border crossing.

The tests begin Nov. 2, and will also be offered at the Calgary International Airport.

Covid-19 tests
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recently tested hundreds of truck drivers as part of a pilot project coordinated by DriverCheck. (Photo: John G. Smith)

The support comes as part of a broader initiative as the government explores alternatives to the 14-day quarantine requirements currently placed on non-essential international travelers. In the latter case, those with a negative result can end their quarantines if they commit to a second Covid test on Day 6 or 7 after arriving.

Truck drivers who don’t display symptoms can cross the border without subjecting themselves to a 14-day quarantine.

“Covid testing like this helps strengthen and protect Alberta’s supply chain and meet the growing demand for service in our province,” said Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) president Chris Nash in a related release.

The pilot is expected to operator until next spring or summer, the Canadian Trucking Alliance reports. Coutts is the ninth busiest border crossing for commercial traffic in Canada.

“We continue to review the latest evidence on how testing could be used to ease border measures,” said Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of intergovernmental affairs.

“My priorities are the safety and security of the traveling public and Canada’s transportation system. The pilot project is an example of how we continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, provincial and territorial governments, and transportation industry stakeholders to reduce the risk of transmission while seeking new safety measures for international travel,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

“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,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenny.

While this is the first voluntary program of its kind at the border crossing, other jurisdictions like Ontario and New Brunswick have also offered tests to truck drivers.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Brilliant, a program that isn’t exclusively for Alberta residents unlike the Ontario program that excluded everyone except residents of Ontario.

  • How much does a covid-19 test cost at the Coutts border crossing? (acceptable payment?)
    How is a person notified after the test when they are in Alberta to take parents to doctor appointments (& probably there less than 6 days)?

    **Maybe I should just ask where would US citizens go to get the full Q&A list from the Albeta governement?

    Thank you Mr. Smith!

  • The Ontario program was open to all truck drivers who wanted to go in and get tested, not just those from Ontario. Many out of Province drivers were tested when coming through the province.

  • Can you tell me how much this testing will cost? If this is the test we need to get back into Alberta, & how long for the results? And where will we go for this test?