Work-Isolation

Anyone who performs paid work in Prince Edward Island may be eligible to work-isolate. To work-isolate, you must respect the public health measures for work-isolation.

Work-Isolation and Testing

Who benefits from work-isolation?

All of PEI benefits from work-isolation. Work-isolation supports PEI residents who must return to work after traveling outside of PEI and non-PEI residents who are coming into PEI to work.

What is work-isolation?

Work-isolate means that during your first 14 days in the province (or the length of your stay if shorter) you may leave self-isolation to go to work; you must go straight to work and then home. You must have your employer’s support, and while at work you must:

  • maintain physical distancing of two metres or six feet from individuals;
  • wear a non-medical mask; 
  • practice hand hygiene; and,
  • monitor for symptoms.

When you are not at work, you must self-isolate, including:

  • staying on your property
  • If you are in an apartment building, condo or hotel, staying on the building's property and practice physical distancing while in corridors, stairwells, elevators, other shared spaces and outdoors; if staying in a hotel, communicating with the hotel administration regarding any protocols they may have in place for individuals in self isolation
  • not leaving your home/self isolation location unless absolutely necessary, i.e. to seek medical care or COVID-19 testing
  • not going to public areas and not using public transportation (e.g., buses)
  • arranging contactless drop-off of groceries, food, medication and other essentials at your door; (curbside pick-up, drive-thrus and entering retail stores is not permitted)
  • not attending public events, places of worship, restaurants/bars, arenas, and gyms;
  • not hosting or visiting people; and
  • keeping away from others in your household; other members of your household do not have to self-isolate if you can remain isolated from them in a separate room, ideally with a separate bathroom
  • See also COVID-19 self-isolation.

Testing requirements for work-isolation:

Work isolators must test as per the following instructions:

  • For work isolators arriving from outside of the Maritime provinces (outside of NS and NB), the testing frequency is every second day in the 14 days following arrival in PEI.
  • If arriving from NB and NS, you must be tested three (3) times: at days 0-1, 4-6, and 9-11 (depending on how long you remain in PEI).
  • Testing frequency resets with each arrival to PEI; if you arrive in PEI multiple times each week, you must be tested at least once every 5 days.
  • If you are leaving PEI within 48 hours of your next scheduled test, you are required to get tested before leaving.

Incoming domestic (within Canada) workers

Incoming domestic, non-PEI residents may apply for work-isolation through the pre-travel approval process. To work-isolate, you are required to follow the prescribed testing protocol and follow all other measures outlined on this page and in the pre-travel approval letter each time you enter PEI.

People working in long-term care and community care must self-isolate for 14 days before reporting to work following out-of-province travel, and are not eligible to work-isolate.

Reporting to Work: Incoming workers in PEI for more than 24 hours

Incoming domestic workers in PEI for more than 24 hours must be tested upon entry to PEI, but may report to work before receiving a negative test result, if you are not able to wait until the negative test is received, provided:

  • your PEI employer has granted permission
  • you maintain physical distancing and wear a non-medical mask while in the workplace
  • you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill
  • you follow all other work-isolation requirements

The exemption to report to work before receiving a negative test result does not apply to some workplaces.  People working in the following areas must receive a negative test result before reporting to work:

  • Health care
  • Meat packing plants
  • Fish plants
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools
  • Early Years Centres and day cares

Reporting to Work: Incoming domestic workers in PEI for fewer than 24 hours

For non PEI resident same day work isolation travel into PEI

  • if there is a risk that you will be within 6 ft of others while working you are required to get tested; you are not required to wait for a negative result to enter the workplace, provided:
    • your PEI employer has granted permission
    • you maintain physical distancing and wear a non-medical mask while in the workplace
    • you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill
    • you follow all other work-isolation requirements
    • you do not work in health care, meat packing plants, fish plants, correctional facilities, schools, and early years centres and day cares in which case you must receive a first negative test result before reporting to work.
  • if you are doing multiple trips per week, you are required to get tested at least once every five days in PEI;
  • If you come to PEI rarely (fewer than once per week) for same day travel and have no risk of being within 6 ft of others while in PEI, you are not required to be tested, provided:
    • your PEI employer has granted permission
    • you maintain physical distancing at all times and wear a non-medical mask while in the workplace
    • you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill
    • you follow all other work-isolation requirements
    • you do not work in health care, meat packing plants, fish plants, correctional facilities, schools, and early years centres and day cares in which case you must receive a first negative test result before reporting to work.

PEI residents returning from domestic (within Canada) travel

PEI residents who travel outside of PEI and must continue working upon returning to PEI can apply to work-isolate. 

People working in long-term care and community care must self-isolate for 14 days before reporting to work following out-of-province travel, and are not eligible to work-isolate.

If approved to work-isolate, you must be tested upon entry to PEI but may report to work before receiving a negative test result if you are not able to wait until the negative test is received, provided:

  • your PEI employer has granted permission 
  • you maintain physical distancing and wear a non-medical mask while in the workplace
  • you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill
  • you follow all other work-isolation requirements

The exemption to report to work before receiving a negative test result does not apply to some workplaces.  People working in the following areas must receive a negative test result before reporting to work:

  • Health care
  • Meat packing plants
  • Fish plants
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools
  • Early Years Centres and day cares

Detailed steps for PEI residents applying for work-isolation

  1. Before you travel, have a conversation with your employer to ensure they are comfortable with your travel and plan to return to work.
  2. Identify a support person who will be available to help you obtain necessities, like food and medication, when you return and are isolating.
  3. Before you leave the province and begin travel, apply to get approval to work-isolate when you return.
  4. Call 1-855-354-4358 in advance to book a testing appointment for your return. Book all of your other testing appointments at the same time.  
  5. Take your approval letter or your submission ID with you when you leave the province and provide it to Public Health Officials and border screeners when you return to PEI.
  6. When you return, immediately go to your residence or location where you will isolate.
  7. You will begin to receive daily check in calls the day after you arrive back in the province. These calls will continue for the 14 days you are required to self-isolate or work-isolate.
  8. You can leave your isolation location to go to your scheduled testing appointment. Take your travel approval letter with you to the appointment as proof (OI-code) of testing requirement.
  9. Check your test results on-line. You will need your PEI health card, date of birth, and the date you were tested to get your results.
  10. Follow guidance on when you can start work (i.e. before or after receiving your negative test result, depending on where your travel was from and what sector you work in); once permitted to begin work-isolation, you must go straight to work and home.
  11. When at your workplace, follow the public health requirements in place for work isolation. 
  12. Callers will let you know when your 14 days of work-isolation is complete.
  13. Continue to follow public health measures in place to keep all PEI residents healthy and safe.

As a PEI resident, do I need to apply each time I travel outside of PEI?

Yes, you must apply for approval to work-isolate each time you travel outside of PEI if you wish to go back to your workplace when you return. If you do not have to return to your workplace, then you do not have to apply. In that case you would self-isolate for 14 days upon return to the province. 

What if my employer won’t let me work-isolate?

If your employer will not permit you to enter the workplace or return to the workplace after travel, then you must self-isolate for 14 days. You should have a conversation with your employer before you travel to obtain permission to work-isolate. Following domestic travel, your employer may also require that you receive the results of your first test before coming to work. 

What if a worker is symptomatic?

If you are symptomatic, you cannot work. Anyone experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and go to a drop-in testing clinic.

Can I be tested to avoid isolation?

No, testing does not replace isolation and it cannot be used to get out of self-isolation. Testing is a way to identify an infected person close to the time they became infectious and can spread the virus to others.

What are the penalties if I do not follow work-isolation or self-isolation requirements?

The penalties for not work-isolating or self-isolating are charges that carry a fine of at least $1,000. Giving false information to a public health official is also a fine of at least $1,000.

How do I lodge a complaint?

If someone is not following the requirements of self-isolation or work-isolation, or any other public health measure in place in the province, you can make a complaint by calling: 1-800-958-6400.

International Workers / Federal Quarantine Act

If you are told at the Canadian border that you must isolate for 14 days, you must self-isolate for 14 days in PEI. (Test at 0-1 and 9-11 days after arrival).

Workers who enter PEI within 14 days of international travel and are exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirement, as determined by the Government of Canada under the federal Quarantine Act, must self-isolate in PEI; they are eligible to work-isolate during the 14 day self-isolation, provided workers must receive a negative test prior to starting work and follow all measures listed under “What is work isolation?” above. People who work in health care, meat packing plants, fish plants, correctional facilities, schools, early years centres or day cares are not eligible to work isolate following international travel.

NOTE: PEI officials receive lists of workers who are exempted from isolation at the Canadian border.

If I am exempt from self-isolation under the federal Quarantine Act, why do I have to self-isolate in PEI?

The effects of COVID-19 vary between and within provinces and territories. Because of this, PEI has put measures in place that are stronger than federal regulations to help keep the province safe.

Who determines which International travelers are exempt from mandatory isolation under the federal Quarantine Act?

Decisions regarding exemptions under the federal Quarantine Act are granted by the Canadian Border Services Agency. Provinces and territories do not have the authority to determine federal exemptions.

How does someone confirm they are exempt from the federal Quarantine Act?

Contact the Public Health Agency of Canada prior to traveling to determine if you may qualify for an exemption from the Mandatory Isolation Order:

The PEI Chief Public Health Office also receives notification from the federal government of arriving travelers who are required to isolate after entering Canada.

Does the federal government follow up with international travelers entering Canada?

Yes. Federal government officials check in with each international traveler who is required to self-isolate at some point during their 14 day isolation period.

Rotational Workers who are Residents of PEI

Rotational workers who are residents of PEI are subject to different restrictions.

Truck Drivers and other Transportation Crew

Commercial truck drivers and other transportation crew, such as pilots and flight crews, are subject to different restrictions.

Self-Employed and Working from Home

I am a self-employed, PEI resident. Do I still need to apply on line to work-isolate?

Maybe. If you’ve traveled outside of PEI and your work duties require you to leave your home/property, you must apply to work-isolate.

I am a PEI resident who has just returned to the province. I do not work outside of my residence. Do I need to apply to the CPHO to work-isolate?

No, if your work does not require you to leave your residence to perform work duties you do not have to apply to the CPHO to work-isolate from home. You are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

I am returning to PEI after working out west for the last 6 months. I will be home for 3 months before leaving the province again. I will not be working while I am home but I really need to see my family. Can I be tested and exempted from self-isolation?

No, when you arrive in PEI you must self-isolate for 14 days. You do not need to be tested unless you develop symptoms. We understand your desire to be with your family right away but it is really important that you isolate away from them for 14 days. This will help to keep them healthy and safe if you become symptomatic. When you are finished of your self-isolation you will be able to have close physical contact again with your family.

Healthcare Workers

Can healthcare workers, including long-term care (LTC) workers, who travel outside of PEI, work-isolate when they return to PEI?

As of Nov 24, 2020, long term care and community care workers are not eligible to work-isolate. 

Other healthcare workers may apply to work-isolate. However, you must self-isolate upon entry to the province and test negative prior to starting work. You must also continue testing at days 4-6 and 9-11. Otherwise, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days, with no testing unless symptomatic.

Can health care workers who travel internationally work-isolate when they enter PEI?

All health care workers who arrive in PEI from travel outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, even if they are exempt under the federal Quarantine Act.

Why are isolation requirements different for individuals who work in health care?

The isolation requirements for health care workers who travel, including those who work in long-term care, are higher because they work with individuals who are vulnerable and at risk of serious consequences of COVID-19. Health care workers are not able to maintain 2m/6ft distance when at work due to the nature of their work. To date, the experience in Canada demonstrates that seniors living in care facilities and immune-compromised individuals are especially vulnerable to serious health impacts and death from COVID-19. It is important that extra safeguards be in place to protect individuals receiving care in facilities and health care sites across the province.

I have traveled to PEI.  Why can’t I be exempt from isolation after testing negative for COVID-19?

A negative test for COVID-19 doesn’t confirm that you were not exposed after the test was taken or during your travel into Canada and PEI. Testing does not eliminate the risk and spread of COVID-19.

Published date: 
March 4, 2021
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca