While Canadians are just getting used to the idea of showing a vaccine passport in order to travel to foreign countries, the requirement appears to be coming within Canada’s borders for domestic travel as well.
Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transport minister said that starting soon, all passengers on air carriers, trains, and cruise ships will need to show proof of vaccination to board.
This means that Canadians who want to fly or travel by rail within the country will need the shot or might have to arrange alternate transportation.
Vaccinations Will Be Mandatory For Domestic Travel
Alghhabra’s office released this statement today regarding mandatory vaccinations for air travel:
“As soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the Government of Canada will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travelers. This includes all commercial air travelers.”
Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, but Alghabra said that additional measures are needed to encourage more people to get vaccinated and to protect the work the country has done to reduce Covid-19 cases.
“Vaccine requirements in the transportation sector will help protect the safety of employees, their families, passengers, their communities and all Canadians. And more broadly, it will hasten Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,”
For those travelers who cannot be vaccinated due to religious or medical exemptions, rapid testing is expected to be available as a suitable alternative.
WestJet and Air Canada, the two major airlines that service Canada, both released statements welcoming the news and advocating for rapid-antigen testing as an alternative.
“The WestJet Group will adhere to the requirement for domestic travellers to be fully vaccinated or tested prior to departure. The airline group is advocating that rapid-antigen testing is an acceptable, accessible and affordable alternative for unvaccinated travellers.”
Air Canada released this statement today:
“Although Air Canada awaits further details about today’s announcement on mandatory vaccinations, it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers and all Canadians.
Air Canada is committed to work with its unions and the Government of Canada to implement this new policy in an effective manner with the aim of increasing safety and streamlining the application of science-based health and safety measures in a manner consistent with the Government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel report of May 5, 2021.
In particular, for travellers, the panel recommended: that there should be no pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers; acknowledging that testing at both departure and arrival is excessive for these passengers; and that effective self-administered rapid antigen tests now available can safely replace slower and more expensive PCR testing for pre-departure tests.”
The news comes shortly after the federal government announced that they will be introducing vaccine passports to facilitate the safe resumption of international travel.
In addition to this, the federal government is requiring vaccinations for all federal public servants in the country, which make up over 300,000 of the workforce, as well as hundreds of thousands more people that work for government-owned or regulated corporations.
“We expect the federal public service to want to comply with this mandatory requirement,” LeBlanc said in a news conference. “This is the best way to end the pandemic and allow the economy to safely remain open.”
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories