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.
— Kelly ❤️ 🇨🇦 #fullyvaxxed (@choose_fabulous) August 13, 2021
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."
This is profoundly awesome news. I have no idea why it took so long though.
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.
— Eric Bunny Blair (@EricBunnyBlair) August 14, 2021
This will finally force people’s hand, as there are many who are not anti-vaxx, but simply chose to “wait until they have to get it.” Really didn’t understand what the point of “waiting” is, if you are not against the science. Except to continue to put yourself and others at risk
— e cat (@3vacatacutan) August 13, 2021
I’m happy about this! I don’t get how people’s don’t want the vaccine? We give our kids vaccines when they are babies and don’t think twice. When never asked why? Who made it? We took doctors and science.
— cathy mcintyre (@btoadcathy) August 13, 2021
I favour a single, federal vaccine passport/proof (whatever) that can be used domestically where appropriate and internationally for travel.
But guys, remember this? If you went to grade school in Ontario you already have one of these, (and the sky didn't fall) #Onpoli #Cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/daHfRi2jQQ
— Laryssa Waler (@LWaler) August 13, 2021
While some agree Canadians proof of vaccinations and vaccine passports should be mandatory, others do not.
Wtf, people have been flying for a year and a half without vaccines
They said planes were safe
Now 18 months later planes are not safe?
— fall (autumn) enjoyer (@Spauldi59551363) August 13, 2021
Cool. I’ll just fly out of Buffalo from now on.
— John (Gio) (@JS_DeusVult) August 13, 2021
I have a flight credit with westjet based on previous cancelled flights. We will be demanding our money back
— John Hodge (@jrandyh50) August 13, 2021
How is Canada different than China? Aren't we a proud Democracy where people have the right to make choice. With all side effects of Pfizer vaccination (known and not yet known), should we force vaccine on people? Today its vaccine mandate tomorrow there will be another mandate
— mavrick (@mavrick28790) August 14, 2021
Canada is falling.
The Fed Gov says it will do whatever it takes and for as long as it take to protect the health of Canadians. So they make an experimental vax with known and unknown side effects mandatory for people with to travel and work for them. #NoVaccinePassport
— Ryan Gerritsen🇨🇦 (@ryangerritsen) August 13, 2021