The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, today announced the requirements for vaccination of travellers, which will come into effect on October 30, 2021, at 3 a.m., for air and rail travel in Canada.
“Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. By requiring that travellers and employees be vaccinated, we are ensuring that all those who travel or work in the transportation sector protect each other better while ensuring the safety of Canadians,” said Minister Alghabra.
Requirements effective October 30
As the Government of Canada announced on August 13, travellers in the federally regulated air and rail sectors will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
After extensive consultations, Transport Canada issued the final orders and guidance to airlines and railways to implement the vaccination requirements for travellers which are effective at 3 a.m. (EDT) October 30, 2021.
The vaccination requirements will apply to all travellers 12 years of age plus four months who are:
- Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder, or international flights departing from certain airports in Canada;
- Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
Travellers will need to show airlines and railways proof of vaccination.
Encouraged to use new standardized proof of vaccination
Travellers are strongly encouraged to use the new Canadian evidence of standardized vaccination, but provincial proof of vaccination will still be accepted if their province does not yet issue standardized proof of vaccination certification, or documents issued by their local health facility containing the necessary information about vaccination.
“Travellers may submit proof of vaccination from their province or territory, the local health facility that registered their vaccination, or their country of vaccination, provided they have received a COVID-19 approved by the Government of Canada.”
Air carriers and railways will be responsible for confirming the vaccination status of travellers. In the air transportation sector, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will also confirm vaccination status.
Short transition period
Rare exceptions will be made for emergencies, as well as special measures for some remote communities, to allow their residents to access essential services.
It was also noted that there will be a short transition period, until November 29, 2021, during which travellers will have the opportunity to submit valid COVID-19 molecular test evidence in order to board.
Requirements effective November 30
As of November 30, a negative COVID-19 molecular test result will NO longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination.
“If travellers have not yet started the vaccination process, or do not start soon, they will not be able to travel as of November 30. Exceptions will be very limited,” warns the government, noting that more information will be available in the coming weeks."
Nevertheless, there will be a transitional measure for unvaccinated foreign nationals who normally reside outside Canada and who entered Canada before October 30.
“Until February 28, they will be able to take a flight out of Canada if they present evidence of molecular COVID-19 testing when travelling.”
Unvaccinated travellers with positive travel results
The Government notes that unvaccinated travellers who test positive for COVID-19 while travelling will not be able to continue to travel or return to their point of departure until they have completed a 14-day isolation period.
“Travellers are responsible for their own costs related to isolation (accommodation and meals), with very few exceptions. Unvaccinated travellers must have a plan prepared before their trip, in case they receive a positive result during the trip,” he said.
Work continues, including with the cruise industry
The Government of Canada emphasizes that it will continue to work with key stakeholders, employers, airlines and railways, bargaining agents, Indigenous peoples, local authorities, provinces and territories to support the implementation of the vaccination requirement.
For its part, Transport Canada indicates that it will continue to work with the cruise industry and other domestic and international partners to ensure Canada’s safe reopening to cruise ship travel in the spring of 2022. particular requirements for vaccination of cruise ship passengers and other health protocols.
Getting informed, a duty
The Government of Canada is also warning that, depending on specific provincial and territorial requirements, travellers may be subject to other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Travellers are responsible for keeping themselves informed of restrictions that may apply to their final destination,” he said.
Similarly, prior to arriving at the port of entry, travellers are required to inform themselves of their obligations and understand them to ensure that they are eligible to enter Canada based on these requirements and exemptions checklists.
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