New travel mandate by the federal government requiring vaccinations

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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The federal government is ramping up its push to get all Canadians vaccinated – and to safely and fully reopen international travel – with a new mandate that requires all air travellers, rail passengers and cruise ship passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, along with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc, made the announcement today.

According to reports, the mandate will cover all commercial air travellers as well as passengers on inter-provincial rail services and ships with overnight accommodations, including cruise cruise ships.

Exemptions will be made for medical reasons, and for children under the age of 12.

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The news follows up on confirmation earlier this week that the federal government is moving ahead with a pan-Canadian, secure system of proof of vaccination certification that can be used for international travel.

Also announced today, the federal government is making good on Prime Minister Trudeau’s mention last week that federal employees will also need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Plus, employees in federally regulated sectors including airlines will also need to be fully vaccinated. Earlier this week Travelweek connected with major airlines including Air Canada, WestJet and Transat on the topic.

Trudeau has been hammering home the federal government’s message that all eligible Canadians should get vaccinated, to help protect themselves and others, and to get Canada back to a new-normal and past the pandemic.

The message is in line with sentiments from the majority of Canadians, with fully vaccinated Canadians now making up more than 60% of the population, and more than 80% with at least one dose.

On Aug. 5, when Trudeau said the government was looking into mandatory vaccinations for federal employees, he said: “There’s no more excuses. It’s time for people to get vaccinated. Those who continue to hesitate to get vaccinated, are prolonging the pandemic in Canada and elsewhere in the world.”

The new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rule for federal employees, federally regulated industries including airlines, and for air travellers, rail passengers and cruise ship passengers is expected to come into effect no later than the end of October.

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