On Aug. 13, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that all air, provincial train, and cruise ship travellers must show proof of vaccination to board. Government-issued vaccine passports are already in the works for fully vaccinated Canadians who plan to travel internationally as well starting this fall.
The new travel rule applies to passengers and workers in the travel industry. Exceptions to the policy will require screening and testing of travellers.
With a fourth wave in play, places such as government offices, colleges, and universities, are requiring people to show proof of vaccination, but Canada says wants to take an additional step with mandatory proof of vaccination rule in the transport sector.
"Canada's vaccination rate is among the best in the world, but to protect ourselves and each other from the virus and its variants we must do better," said Alghabra.
Domestic airlines such as WestJet and Air Canada are committed to working with the government to set vaccination rules to curb COVID-19.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Air Canada has advocated and continually adopted science-based measures to keep its customers and employees safe. This has included encouraging its employees to get vaccinated, setting up workplace clinics and supporting community vaccination programs to make vaccinations more widely accessible," stated Air Canada's press release.
"We continue to be a strong partner in Canada's vaccination rollout and are working diligently to implement the government's policy on mandatory vaccines for airline employees," said Mark Porter, WestJet Executive Vice-President, People and Culture.
"Vaccinations are the most effective way to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, while curbing the spread of COVID-19."
Canadians split on vaccine rule for travel
Some Canadians are happy about the new rule so they can travel safely and it will help restart the travel industry.
"This #FullyVaccinated Canadian is thrilled to hear. Can't wait to travel on Via Rail," tweeted Kelly.
People wonder why it has taken some time to bring this rule forth, but are pleased with the decision made now as it will protect Canadians.
"This is profoundly awesome news. I have no idea why it took so long," tweeted Eric Bunny Blair. "Our governments were naive to think that enough people would get vaccinated without strong incentives. Some people are just too selfish to be trusted to do their civic duty."