Effective October 30, 2021, all air travellers departing on flights from Canadian airports will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel. This will also extend to domestic travel on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, as well as marine passenger vessels.
On August 13, 2021, The Government of Canada announced the intent to require COVID-19 vaccinations for travellers using federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation. On October 6, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that as of October 30, 2021, full vaccination will be mandatory for travellers departing on domestic and international flights from Canadian airports.
Who is Affected?
Effective October 30, 2021 travellers will need to be fully vaccinated in order to utilize certain transportation. Specifically, 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
A pan-Canadian, secure, and standardized proof of vaccination for international travel was announced on August 11, 2021, and is being developed in partnership with provinces and territories. This document, which will be available to travellers in digital formats, will be easily recognized and trusted.
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, but that transition period will end on November 30.
The Government of Canada has advised that the vaccination mandate will include specific accommodation for travellers from small, remote communities to ensure they can obtain essential services. This accommodation will be informed by engagement with Indigenous organizations and provinces and territories in the coming days.
The Government of Canada strongly advises any Canadians planning to travel by plane or train this holiday season to get vaccinated as soon as possible or they will be unable to travel. Travellers will be responsible for declaring their vaccination status and providing documentation prior to boarding.
International Travel to Canada Does Not Appear To be Affected
Currently the new policy does not appear to apply to individuals travelling to Canada from airports in other countries. When first announced, the Government of Canada stated these new fully vaccination rules would apply to all commercial air travellers. It is possible international travel to Canada could be affected by future announcements or policy changes.
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