Canada will require all air, train, cruise travelers and crew members on commercial transport to bear proof of vaccination against the coronavirus from October.
“Canadians deserve to feel confident when traveling that the environment around them is safe,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. “We need to regain public confidence in travel” to help the industry recover after the economic losses caused by the pandemic in the transportation and tourism sectors, he added.
This requirement will be also extended to interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodation.
Those who have documented medical reasons for not getting vaccinated will need to agree to multiple testing and other restrictions.
The government also announced they expect that corporations in other federally regulated sectors will also require vaccination for their employees.
Positive reactions to this new mandate were immediate. Right after the announcement, Air Canada praised the government for this science-based decision that will allow them to provide travelers with a safer travel experience.
“Although Air Canada awaits further details about today’s announcement on mandatory vaccinations, it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers and all Canadians,” reads the statement.
With more than 71% of eligible citizens above the age 12 and older fully vaccinated, Canada is “almost” ready to entirely reopen its economy.
The combination of smart negotiations, financial capacity and popular trust in public health institutions has played a role in preventing the deadly fourth wave of coronavirus that their southern neighbors are currently enduring.
However, just as other nations Canada has started to experience a deceleration in vaccination figures.
Months ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that vaccination requirements would not be necessary. Until they will.
Last Friday, the government presented this revisited position as “an evolution of the government’s posture” to encourage Canadians to get jabbed.
“Canadians don’t want to go back to travel restrictions (…) and you know it’s not uncommon for the government to play a regulatory role when it comes to protecting the overall health and safety of Canadians,” said Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transport minister on Friday.
Although data suggest that Canada’s international travel would not be affected by this broad new policy, its American counterpart might be.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN that a similar requirement for airline passengers is not under consideration.
“There is not at this time,” said Mayorkas when pressed to discuss the matter.