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Canada Will Require Proof Of Vaccination For Domestic Travel As Of Oct. 30

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that, as of October 30, the Government of Canada will require travelers departing from Canadian airports and traveling by VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains to be fully vaccinated.

The government noted in a press release that “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 press release goes on to state that, effective October 30, travelers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, taking voyages that are 24 hours or more will also need to be vaccinated.

According to the release, 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

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. By November 30, all travellers must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions to address specific situations such as emergency travel, and those medically unable to be vaccinated.

In addition, this government’s vaccination mandate will include specific accommodation to recognize the unique needs of travellers from small, remote communities (some of which are not accessible by road) to ensure they will be able to travel to obtain essential services in support of their medical, health, or social well-being, and return safely to their homes. This accommodation will be informed by engagement with Indigenous organizations and provinces and territories in the coming days.

The mandate will be enforced in a variety of ways. Transport Canada will oversee compliance by means of inspections and enforcement tools—including administrative monetary penalties—using oversight systems in place for each mode.

For those who falsify information or otherwise fail to comply, the press release notes that there will be serious consequences. For example:

  • Railway companies could be subjected to compliance actions up to $250,000 per violation, per day, under the Railway Safety Act
  • In the air sector, individuals—either travellers or employees—could be fined up to $5,000 per violation under the Aeronautics Act, and operators could be fined up to $25,000 per violation
  • In the 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, for non-compliance to the Interim Order made pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001

The government also announced that a Canadian, secure, and standardized proof of vaccination for international travel 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.

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