Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that all air and rail passengers ages 12 and up will need to be vaccinated by the end of October to continue traveling in the country. A short grace period that ends in November will allow travelers to use air and rail services with proof of a negative COVID test. The mandate, announced on Wednesday, extends to air and rail staff as well. Additionally, Canada is mandating that most federal workers receive the vaccination.
Trudeau referred to the mandates as “fulfilling two of our main commitments,” harkening back to a pledge he made on his most recent campaign trail. The prime minister went on to underscore the importance of vaccines, saying, “When it comes to avoiding lockdowns for everyone, this is no time for half measures.”
Air And Rail Travel
Though some nations and workplaces allow people without vaccinations to submit negative COVID tests in lieu of vaccination proof, Canada will not be extending the same option to travelers above the age of 12, though there will be a brief grace period through November to allow passengers to get the shot. On a similar note, Trudeau mentioned that there would be “extremely narrow exceptions, like a valid medical condition.”
The prime minister went on to acknowledge that the measures “are some of the strongest in the world,” but continued to highlight safety as he provided an explanation for the new requirements. “This is about keeping people safe on the job, and in their communities,” he continued.
Bloomberg’s Vaccination Tracker shows that an estimated 76 percent of Canada’s population has already been vaccinated, markedly higher than the U.S.’s 62 percent as of this publication date. Addressing the current vaccination rate of the country, Trudeau said, “Vaccines are the most effective tool against COVID-19, and countless Canadians — including many public servants — have already done their part and gotten their shots,”
The mandate will also require that certain federal employees are vaccinated by the end of October or they will face suspension without pay. The penalty also covers employees who refuse to disclose their vaccination status with their employer.
This applies to “Correctional Services of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and many other offices and agencies,” according to Chrystia Freeland, the deputy to the prime minister. She noted some of the logic behind the decision, explaining, “We want to ensure that the Government of Canada sets an example, and establishes a vaccination policy that protects everyone’s safety.”
The mandate for federal workers is especially significant in light of the fact that the government is the country’s largest employer.
Freeland has also stated that a similar mandate will soon be put in place for the Canadian military. Finally, Trudeau’s statement mentioned that the requirements would apply to cruise travel in the upcoming 2022 season.
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