General News

Update #28: Advisory on COVID-19


Please Note: The SMAC COVID-19 Advisory will no longer be released bi-weekly and will be issued ‘as required’. Please continue to request information via the SMAC CMOs and/or members of the COVID-19 Return to Sport Task Force.


COVID-19 Pre-Games Testing

As Playbook 3 has been released with updated information from Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese government, the following information is vital for all teams headed to Tokyo this summer. It is recommended for all athletes and staff travelling to Tokyo for the Games to read the Playbook V3.



Before departing on the flight to Japan every individual will require 2 RTPCR tests done using nasopharyngeal or saliva testing. NO antigen tests will be acceptable.

These tests must be within 96 hours of departure and be at least 24 hours apart. We suggest one test at 96 hours and the other 48-72 hours to allow for results to be available and any inconclusive results to be repeated.

Tests need to be through an approved facility to be accepted. The link below has the final list of accepted clinics within Canada as well as internationally.


Although the actual Japanese Government certificate is not required, all of the information on this Certificate is required on these 2 test results. Below is a link to the certificate from the Japanese Government that contains the information required.



Pre Games Preparation

In the 14 days prior to departure, vigilance in terms of avoiding extra contacts and public environments, hygiene, mask wearing, and maintaining physical distancing is very important. Despite the general easing of restrictions for the public across most regions in Canada, this is not the time for those participating in the Games to relax your vigilance.

This is also the time to prepare your travel kit as per COC/CPC recommendations, gather copies of your vaccine certificates, previous COVID test results and any relevant medical information if you have had COVID previously. Please download the apps that are required at the games (Online check in and health report App OCHA and Contact Confirming App COCOA) onto your phone prior to departure (NOTE: These can take up to 24 hrs to activate so we advise downloading well in advance of departure).


COVID-19 and Pre-Games Testing

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, especially in the 120 days prior to travel, please contact your CMO/CLO and gather all information on your testing, medical treatment including info on symptoms, whether you were tested for variants, recovery etc. This information will be vital for navigating the many possibilities that may arise during travel and at the Games.



Vaccinations in Canada are managed by the Federal and Provincial Vaccination Task Force / National Advisory Committee on Vaccination with specific provincial vaccination schedules, plans and programs in place. Through the IOC/IPC Pfizer agreement all members of the Olympic and Paralympic team have the opportunity to receive two doses prior to leaving for the Games. This also includes all support staff and officials that will be going to Tokyo. Please ensure that the information is updated in GEMSPRO as you receive your shots.

Having a vaccine does not lead to false positive COVID-19 testing for either PCR or antigen testing. Having the vaccine does not alter the requirement for 2 PCR tests prior to departure as outlined above.

Being double vaccinated not only protects the individual from testing positive which would impact an athlete’s ability to train and compete but also impacts whether you would be considered a close contact and possibly require self-isolation. It also protects the rest of the team, our hosts in Tokyo, as well as reduces the risk of bringing a variant back to Canada upon return from the Games. For more information on vaccine and activity guidelines please see the PHAC Vaccine Activity Guide.

Returning from international travel after 5 July and being double vaccinated will also allow you to avoid the 14 day quarantine in a government hotel and at home.

At present there are 4 vaccines approved by Health Canada for use in Canada.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) (not been released at this time)

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines are newer technology mRNA Vaccines, require specific cold chain management prior to administration and require two doses between 21 days (Pfizer) and 30 days (Moderna) apart. In several provinces the interval was extended to as much as four months between injections to enable maximisation of 1st dose administration in light of earlier limited supply. The dosing interval has since been reduced in most regions. Through the IOC/IPC Pfizer program all games participants are eligible to receive the vaccines earlier to ensure double vaccination prior to departure. In early clinical trials they are between 94% and 95% effective 2 weeks after the second dose. New data will be known for the newer variants as the vaccination program reaches more people.

AstraZeneca is a viral vector vaccine which uses adenovirus (same as common cold virus) to deliver a COVID-19 spike protein that is on the surface of the virus to induce the immune response. It is also a 2 injection vaccine with the time interval 4-12 weeks between injections.

Janssen is another viral vector vaccine which is a single dose vaccine and takes 2 weeks to develop significant protection against COVID-19. It has been found to be 66% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease.

All vaccines are WADA compliant.

Mix and match with the above vaccines has been studied and found to be both safe and effective. It is recommended that athletes and staff travelling internationally be vaccinated at least 72 hours prior to departure as some individuals will have minor flu like symptoms after their second dose and fever or illness may affect screening for travel on international flights.



International Travel

At present, athletes and staff returning to Canada by air must comply with the following federal requirement:

  • pre-flight COVID testing
  • testing on arrival
  • COVID hotel stay while awaiting the test result
  • 14 day quarantine with repeat testing on day 8.

Those individuals arriving by land are NOT required to quarantine in a COVID hotel while awaiting their arrival test result but must follow the other requirements listed above.

As of July 6, fully vaccinated individuals (14 days after second shot of an approved vaccine), will only be required to quarantine at home while awaiting a negative arrival test. Data to confirm proof of vaccination will have to be provided on the ArriveCAN app.


Interprovincial Travel

As this can vary by province, please check with your Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) or local public health authority for any specific updates in your area.

CSIs have plans in place including regular testing that may differ for individuals that have just completed interprovincial travel depending on various factors. These include:

  • Vaccination status (individuals who are fully vaccinated)
  • Mode of Travel (personal vehicles vs mass transit)
  • The daily training or competition environment (if entering a training node or bubble with a greater than 85% full vaccination rate)

If not fully vaccinated, you should discuss your circumstances directly with your NSO and/or CSI CMO.

As an example, Athlete A who is fully vaccinated and drives to a camp in another province will not require pre-travel or arrival testing. Athlete B who is not fully vaccinated or travels by air or land transit will require a pre travel and/or arrival PCR test prior to entering a Training Node, Training Bubble, or CSI.

At this point, it is recommended that changes to commonly used antigen tests for screening purposes should not occur based upon an individual’s vaccination status.


Further Questions:

Further information about COVID-19 may be obtained from your NSO Chief Medical Officer or Team Physician, or the Chief Medical Officers of the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mike Wilkinson, Canadian Olympic Committee: [email protected]
Dr. Andy Marshall Canadian, Paralympic Committee: [email protected]
Dr. Suzanne Leclerc, Institut National du Sport du Québec: [email protected]
Dr. Steven Dilkas, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario: [email protected]
Dr. Brian Benson, Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: [email protected]
Dr. Paddy McCluskey, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific: [email protected]