Our federal government announced today that they intend to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for air, interprovincial rail and cruise ship travel. On top of this all federal public service employees will be mandated to get the vaccine.
No set date has been published for implementation of this new rule but it is expected to be in place no later than October. This is right around the same time the federal government is planning to roll out vaccine passports for Canadian citizens.
Both of Canada’s major airlines have issued press releases supporting the mandate with Air Canada stating:
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
“We continue to be a strong partner in Canada’s
vaccination rollout and are working diligently to implement the
government’s policy on mandatory vaccines for airline employees,” said Mark Porter,
WestJet Executive Vice-President, People and Culture. “Vaccinations are
the most effective way to ensure the safety of our guests and
employees, while curbing the spread of COVID-19.”
“We understand our people will have questions and will be discussing
with our employee and labour groups in real-time,” continued Mr.
Porter. “We are seeking additional detail from the federal government on
the requirement and are committed to working together to ensure the
successful implementation of the policy by late October.”
As well according the WestJet’s release it states that all federally mandated airline employees must be vaccinated by the end of October – which makes sense if all passengers need to be as well.