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Air Canada mandating vaccines for employees, new hires

Last Updated Aug 25, 2021 at 1:25 pm PDT

Grounded Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

MONTREAL – Canada’s largest airline is introducing a mandatory vaccine policy for its employees.

Air Canada announced Wednesday that it would be requiring all employees and new hires be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to help protect staff and travellers.

 

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This includes people working for the main airline, Air Canada Rouge, and Air Canada Vacations.

Air Canada says testing will not be offered as an alternative to employees who don’t want to get their shots.

“While Air Canada will fulfill its duties to accommodate employees who for valid reasons, such as medical conditions, cannot be vaccinated, failure to be fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021 will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination, except for those who qualify for accommodation,” the company said in a release.

“Air Canada’s policy is also in accord with a recent announcement by the Government of Canada requiring employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated by the end of October 2021.”

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The Canadian government also announced earlier this month that it will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all federal public employees, staring in early fall, as well as commercial air travellers.

The move was widely welcomed by the airline industry.

Until now, Porter Airlines was the only airline to require its staff be vaccinated.

The company says all team members must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

Porter’s policy begins with the airline’s resumption of service on Sept. 8.