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Canada to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all commercial air travellers, federal public employees

Last Updated Aug 13, 2021 at 3:06 pm PDT

Proof that you’ve rolled up your sleeves and been vaccinated for COVID-19 will soon be mandatory for all commercial air travellers, the federal government announced on Friday.

The new measures, expected to be in effect by the end of October at the latest, will also apply to passengers on interprovincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, like cruise ships.

“Vaccine requirements in the transportation sector will help protect the safety of employees, their families, passengers, their communities and all Canadians. And more broadly, it will hasten Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Friday.

For those who can’t be vaccinated for legitimate reasons, alternative measures such as “testing and screening” will be considered.

The Canadian government also announced on Friday that it will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all federal public employees, starting early fall.

It is also calling on federally regulated companies to follow suit.

There are close to half a million people who work directly for the federal government, a Crown corporation, the military or the RCMP. Nearly a million more work in federally regulated industries, which includes banks and airlines.

Related video: Canada to regulate vaccinations for all federal sector workers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a week ago that he had asked the clerk of the Privy Council — the nation’s top bureaucrat — to consider the mandate.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says by the fall, there will be a vaccine requirement for transportation workers.

At last count, nearly 82 per cent of Canadians 12 and older had at least one dose of vaccine, while 70 per cent had been fully vaccinated.