Canadian travellers fined $5,700 each for getting wrong COVID-19 test before returning from U.S.
It was a trip that cost a Vancouver nurse a lot more than she bargained for.
Brittany North, a registered nurse, says after a stressful year-and-a-half working during the pandemic, she needed a break.
“So I booked a trip to L.A. to visit a friend for about a week,” she said.
But just before she returned home, she tested positive for COVID-19, despite being double vaccinated and spending most of her time in California outdoors.
“I ended up getting quite sick for about a week to ten days…I had to quarantine for two weeks while I was there,” she said.
When she recovered, she paid for another COVID-19 test.
The result was negative.
North says her documentation was checked at the Los Angeles airport and she was given the okay to fly home.
“I thought I was following every rule I possibly could,” she said.
In a statement, Air Canada says that “passengers are responsible for ensuring they meet all entry requirements and have all valid travel documents including specific health certificates necessary to enter a country."
"Air Canada provides detailed information on its website and lists the valid tests types for specific destinations,” it continues.
It’s only after she landed in Vancouver that she learned that the kind of COVID-19 test she had taken in the states wasn’t valid in Canada.
“They just told me that test was unacceptable. They would only accept a PCR test,” North said.
She was fined $5,700.
“I was sick to my stomach,” she said.
North told CTV News Vancouver that she took another test once back in Vancouver, and that it was also negative.
“I’m still extremely angry and frustrated.”
It turns out that North isn’t the only traveller who ended up taking the wrong test before entering Canada and was then slapped with a hefty fine.
Roger Iddison, 77, went with his wife Linda to visit their son in Portland, Oregon. The pair live in Missisauga, Ont., but flew through the Vancouver International Airport.
They hadn’t seen their son since 2019.
They thought their tests were in order, before coming home, having asked for a PCR test at a pharmacy in the United States.
“I asked Walgreens for a PCR test. And apparently…the test was wrong,” Iddison said.
When they landed in Vancouver, health officials told them it was the wrong test and they were fined a whopping $11,500.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” he told CTV by phone. “For two old folks living on pensions that’s insane.”
He doesn’t think he should have to pay for someone else’s mistake and says they certainly weren’t trying to circumvent the proper process.
“That’s the last thing we would ever want to do is spread COVID-19 in Canada and give it to my fellow Canadians. No way,” he said.
COVID-19 testing rules for travellers are available online but North and the Iddisons didn’t recognize that mistakes had been made until it was too late.
In a statement, Health Canada says it’s the traveller’s responsibility to know the rules but that “all persons issued a ticket for non-compliance have an opportunity to dispute their charges…”
Both North and the Iddisons are disputing their fines and believe officers should use discretion in deciding when a fine should be levied.
North also says she shouldn’t have been allowed on the flight if the test was incorrect.
She says her “vacation” ended up being “extremely stressful and expensive.”
She also wants to warn Canadians that even being double vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t get sick from COVID-19.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The federal defence Minister says Canada 'unequivocally supports' the United States government's decision to shoot down a high-altitude surveillance balloon that was suspected of spying for China, noting the balloon violated Canadian airspace.
The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America. China insisted the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft and threatened repercussions.
'It's devastating': Homeless Canadians at risk as Eastern Canada endures extreme cold, advocates say
As the majority of Eastern Canada stays indoors during an extreme cold weather alert, homeless shelters are struggling to keep up with the demand from unhoused people as temperatures continue to drop.
Canadians will continue to bundle up in the country's east this weekend as a recent bout of extreme cold persists in much of Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. CTVNews.ca looks at the signs and symptoms for frostbite and hypothermia to watch for if exposed to extreme cold.
China's foreign ministry said on Sunday that it expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposition towards the United States' use of force to attack its airship.
An early study has shown keeping your gums and teeth healthy may have added benefits for your brain health.
The federal government says it wants the RCMP to ban the use of two crowd-control tools that forces across the country say they have in their arsenals: sponge rounds and CS gas.
A cold snap that triggered Environment Canada alerts involving eight provinces and territories extended into a second day on Saturday, shattering several past temperature records and leaving thousands of customers in Atlantic Canada without power.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Saturday the league's 2024 showcase will be played in Toronto for the ninth time.
A man wanted in B.C. has been arrested in Oregon after a bizarre series of events involving a high seas rescue and a home made famous in the 1985 film "The Goonies."
The Oak Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library will remain closed for significantly longer than initially planned.
Goldstone Consignment Boutique in downtown Duncan was recently hit by two smash-and-grab thefts within a 26-hour period.
Three people are in stable condition in hospital after a two-storey Calgary townhouse caught fire on Saturday morning.
Calgary police have identified a man they believe is connected to the sexual assault of a show home employee in Alpine Park.
Chinese New Year celebrations continued in Calgary's Chinatown district Friday night.
A dog required emergency surgery after what its owner described as a vicious attack Friday evening in northeast Edmonton.
Musicians and live music supporters are mourning the loss of another Edmonton concert venue.
A 45-year-old man was killed in a 'confrontation' with RCMP officers responding to a firearms complaint Saturday morning at a northeast Alberta First Nation.
Metrolinx begins to clear trees at Osgoode Hall, agrees to 'pause work' ahead of hearing on their removal
A spokesperson for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) says Metrolinx began cutting down historic trees at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Saturday before the Ontario Superior Court could hear an injunction to prevent their clearing.
Marit Stiles officially became the new leader of the Ontario NDP on Saturday after a majority of party members voted in favour of the lone candidate.
Police in Durham Region are investigating after two people were found dead in Bowmanville.
Residents from Quebec to Newfoundland and Labrador are waking up this morning to more extreme cold weather. Emergency officials warned people to seek shelter and monitor for frostbite if they had to be outside overnight, as the temperature across much of Eastern Canada was expected to feel like -40 C to -50 C with the wind chill.
A 31-year-old man was seriously injured Saturday night following gunfire in Old Montreal. Montreal police (SPVM) were called to Place Jacques-Cartier in the Ville-Marie borough around 7:55 p.m. after multiple people called 911 reporting gunshots and an injured man.
A Quebec cardiologist is spearheading an effort to install more defibrillators in public, with the goal of making the life-saving machines more accessible in a crisis.
Donning toques, mitts and scarves Saturday, Winnipeg families didn't let some light snow spoil a break from the extreme cold.
A 57-year-old man is recovering in hospital after a stabbing in downtown Winnipeg Friday night.
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is calling on the federal government to do more for cancer patients, as the system continues to struggle nearly three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
'100 per cent Filipino products': Saskatoon Filipino community hosts first trade show for a good cause
The Studio at Midtown Mall was host to the first edition of the Proudly Pinoy Filipino Trade Show this weekend.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
Saskatoon’s police chief, Troy Cooper, participated in a polar plunge as a fundraiser for Special Olympics Saskatchewan.
A group who fled to Canada due to the war in Ukraine are showing their appreciation by donating the gift of life at Canadian Blood Services in Regina.
Above seasonal temperatures with snow squalls did not slow down the first day of Regina's Frost Festival.
A man is facing an assault charge after striking another man with a glass object early Saturday morning.
Extreme cold warnings were in effect for the Maritimes Saturday, with feel-like temperatures hitting between -40C and -50C.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is reassuring his party faithful that he still intends to fix the province's health-care system at whatever cost it takes.
A new medical school at the University of Prince Edward Island is set to start training its first class in fall 2024. But the nagging question is, with ongoing doctor shortages on the island, who’s going to teach?
The opening celebration of Black History Month was held at the Museum London on Saturday afternoon.
Two children have been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a three-vehicle crash Saturday morning.
London police seized nine handguns, cash and drugs during the arrest of a wanted man Thursday afternoon.
The suspect in an assault in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island Thursday is still at large and police are seeking witnesses or video footage in hopes of finding him.
W5 Investigates | Daniel Jolivet insists he's not a murderer and says he has proof
Convicted murderer Daniel Jolivet, in prison for the past 30 years, has maintained his innocence since the day he was arrested. W5 reviews the evidence he painstakingly assembled while behind bars. W5's documentary 'Buried Evidence' airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV.
After a very cold – but well-attended – opening night on Friday, Bon Soo 2023 was in full swing Saturday.
Waterloo regional police are investigating a car theft they say happened while the owner was vacuuming out their vehicle.
One person has been airlifted from the scene of a serious crash in North Perth.
Demonstrators in Cambridge are hoping greenbelt and conservation lands can be protected from new home development.