Canada rolls out vaccination requirements for travelers and transport staff

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The Canadian government will soon require travelers to be fully vaccinated in order to travel from Canadian airports and on trains. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement that starting October 30, 2021, the Canadian government will require those departing from Canadian airports, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, to be fully vaccinated in order to travel.

The announcement, which was made on October 6, 2021, stated that all travelers aged 12 and above who are taking federally-regulated modes of transportation will have to be vaccinated in order to board.

For travelers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period which will allow them to travel if they can show a negative COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel.

This transition period, however, will only last until November 30, 2021. By this date, all travelers must be fully vaccinated. Exceptions may be made for emergency travel, and those who are medically unable to be vaccinated.

These measures will also apply to employees in the transportation sector. All employers in the federally-regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors need to have vaccination policies in place for their organizations by October 30, 2021.

The policy applies to airlines, airports including hospitality and concession workers, railways, rail crew, track employees, and marine operators with Canadian vessels that have a crew of 12 or more.

Transport Canada is tasked to enforce the new measurements through inspections. 

As for penalties, they are classified by mode of transportation:

Railway: Railway companies could be fined up to $250,000 per violation, per day.

Air travel: Both travelers or employees could be fined up to $5,000 per violation, and operators could be fined $25,000 per violation.

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

A Canadian-wide, standardized proof of vaccination for international travel is currently being developed in partnership with Canadian provinces and territories.

The official announcement and full details of the regulations can be found here. 

There are increasing signs that being vaccinated may become necessary for international travel. AirAsia Malaysia and Air New Zealand announced this week that they will require passengers to be vaccinated.

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