Canada’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy for Air and Rail Travel Goes Into Effect Saturday

By Kurt Stolz on 30 October 2021
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Porters at Toronto Pearson International Airport

Canada’s strict vaccination policy covering airlines, airports, railways, and terminals went into effect Saturday.

The policy applies to passengers and staff on all federally-regulated modes of transportation.

The measure, which took effect on October 30 at 3 a.m., impacts all Air Canada and WestJet passengers, travelers on Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, and all cruise ship passengers 12 years of age or older. It also applies to airline and airport employees including concession and hospitality workers; railroad employees including rail crew and track employees; and marine operators with Canadian vessels that operate with 12 or more crew members.

Transport for Canada first announced the policy on October 6.

The travel industry has come out strongly in favor of the move.

“The implementation of this mandatory vaccination policy, in line with directives from the Government of Canada, will provide an added layer of protection against COVID-19, and make our trains safer, so that our passengers can continue to travel with confidence,” said the CEO of Via Rail, Cynthia Garneau.

Companies operating in these sectors must, after a “short phase-in period,” guarantee that all employees are fully vaccinated and that those who are not will not be permitted to work, Transport Canada said.

The only exception to the policy is employees who, under the Canadian Human Rights Act may have “a medical contraindication.”

In addition, transitional measures for foreign nationals  who normally reside outside of Canada are also in place, provided they entered Canada prior to October 30.  Such individuals will be permitted to exit the country by providing proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular test at the time of travel.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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