Canada to require COVID vaccine for travelers starting October 30

  • All commercial air travelers to Canada, inter-provincial train passengers and cruise ship passengers will be required to show proof of vaccination as of October 30.
  • As of Wednesday, more than 72% of the Canadian population was fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
  • The US land border is expected to remain closed to Canadian tourists until at least October 21.

Starting October 30, the Canadian government will require all air travelers and passengers on interprovincial trains to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The new policy, first announced in August, will affect all commercial air travelers, inter-provincial train passengers and cruise ship passengers. The government is also requiring employers in the federally regulated airline, rail and marine industries to establish vaccination warrants by October 30.

The vaccine requirement does not apply to travelers under 12 years of age. A short transition period will allow travelers who are in the process of getting vaccinated to board if they can have a molecular test within 72 hours of travel, but only until November 30.

“If you haven’t received your vaccines yet but want to travel this winter, let’s be clear. There will only be a few extremely narrow exceptions such as a valid medical condition, ”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference on Wednesday. “For the vast majority of people, the rules are very simple for traveling: you have to get vaccinated.”

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Trudeau said the new travel measures will be “among the strictest in the world.” The country also requires that most foreign nationals be fully vaccinated to enter for non-essential purposes.

“When it comes to protecting yourself and your family, avoiding blockages for everyone else, now is not the time to take half measures,” he said.

Currently, air travelers entering Canada are required to show proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. Unvaccinated air travelers must take another COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada and near the end of a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

The additional measures aim to encourage more people to get vaccinated. As of Wednesday, more than 72% of the Canadian population was fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department each lowered their travel advisories for Canada in August, but the US border is expected to remain closed to Canadian tourists until at least October 21.

Air Canada, Canada’s largest domestic and international carrier, released a statement in support of the new measures in August, announcing it would work with the government and its unions to implement the new policy.

“While Air Canada is awaiting more details on today’s announcement on mandatory vaccinations, it is a welcome step forward in the evolution of measures to protect the health and safety of people. airline employees, customers and all Canadians, ”the statement read.

The United States does not require vaccinations for domestic flights, and it is not known if that will change. When asked if the United States would follow in Canada’s footsteps and implement more stringent vaccine mandates for air travel, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday that the government “did not take anything off the table”.

Who is affected by Canada’s vaccine mandate?

The new travel policy applies to:

  • Passengers on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from Canadian airports
  • Passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
  • Passengers on non-essential passenger ships, such as cruise ships, making trips of at least 24 hours

What happens if travelers do not comply?

Travelers who tamper with information or family to comply will face heavy fines.

Passengers or airline workers can be fined up to $ 5,000 per violation, and cruise ship employees or travelers can be fined up to $ 250,000 per violation and per day if they have not provided proof of vaccination.

How can travelers show proof of vaccination?

The Canadian government is developing a pan-Canadian proof of vaccination for international travel. The document will be available in a digital format and should make proof of vaccination “easy and quick” for travelers, according to the Canadian government.

“Immunization is one of the most effective ways to fight COVID-19 and the Government of Canada will continue to take steps to vaccinate as many Canadians as possible,” read the Canadian government website .

Trudeau said Wednesday that a vaccine passport would be ready “in the coming weeks.”

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