Justin Trudeau today announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for travellers departing from Canadian airports, travellers on VIA Rail and cruise ships.
Effective October 30, travellers will need to be fully vaccinated in order to travel via these 3 modes of travel.
The vaccination requirement will apply to all travellers 12 years of age and older who are:
- Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada
- Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
- Marine passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more
In addition, employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors will need to establish vaccination policies for their employees by this month’s end.
For travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel.
By November 30, all travellers must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions to address specific situations such as emergency travel, and those medically unable to be vaccinated.
The federal government says there will be specific accommodation to recognize the unique needs of travellers from small, remote communities (some of which are not accessible by road) to ensure they will be able to travel to obtain essential services in support of their medical, health, or social well-being, and return safely to their homes. The government will share more information about this in the coming days.
Transport Canada will oversee compliance by means of inspections and fines. The government says there will be serious consequences for those who falsify information or otherwise fail to comply, including:
- Railway companies could be subjected to compliance actions up to $250,000 per violation, per day, under the Railway Safety Act
- In the air sector, individuals—either travellers or employees—could be fined up to $5,000 per violation under the Aeronautics Act, and operators could be fined up to $25,000 per violation
- In the marine sector, employees and travellers could be fined for being non-compliant with the obligation to provide proof of vaccination up to $250,000 per violation, per day, and operators could be fined up to $250,000 per violation, per day, for non-compliance to the Interim Order made pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001
Vaccines Mandatory For Federal Employees:
Trudeau also announced the dates from which mandatory vaccination policy will be enforced for federal employees.
All federal public servants in the Core Public Administration, including members and reservists of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
They will need to attest their vaccination through an online system by October 29, 2021. Public servants who refuse to disclose their status or who are not fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15th.
Those who are unable to be vaccinated can request an accommodation based on medical reasons and prohibited ground as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The policy will affect more than 267 000 employees.
The federal government says a pan-Canadian, secure, and standardized proof of vaccination for international travel is being developed in partnership with provinces and territories.