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Canada Will Require All Airline Employees and Passengers to be Vaccinated

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Aug 19, 2021

All Canadian forms of mass travel will soon require proof of vaccination for both passengers and employees. The new rules will include commercial air travel, trains, busses, and all federal workers. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has represented workplaces in Canadian rail and Commercial Aerospace and has a significant presence in the Canadian medical industry.

The requirements will impact about 1.2 million Canadians. Commercial air travelers within Canada will also need to vaccinate, but not those traveling Air Canada from two destinations in the United States.

According to the Canadian Treasury Board, the changes will take effect “as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October.”

“Today, we are announcing that the government of Canada intends to require vaccination across the Federal public services,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra as he announced the plan. The move is not limited to government agencies but will extend to employees at private companies in the federally regulated sector. “The government of Canada will require employees in the federally-regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sector to be vaccinated,” Alghabra said in the statement.

The mandates will extend to passengers flying on Canada’s two large airlines, as well. Air Canada and WestJet employees and passengers will need to show proof of vaccination by the end of October at the latest,” he said. The goal is to have the new rules enacted as early as the end of September, however.

“We have seen how devastating COVID-19 has been to our transportation and tourism sectors,” Alghabra said of the new mandates. “We must protect the hard-won gains made by Canadians,” he said. Canada has a vaccination rate of 73%, with 64% being fully vaccinated, making Canadians one of the best-protected populations in North America. About 26,000 Canadians have died of the COVID-19 virus.

The vaccination requirements allow those who cannot get vaccinated due to cancer or who have undergone a recent organ transplant, among other medical conditions, to get exemptions. Those with exemptions will have to pass frequent testing and other screening measures. 

In early August, Canada began relaxing some of the travel restrictions for US air travelers, which have somewhat slowed the recovery of air travel in the US. 

While the requirements do not reflect a policy specific to airlines per se, the addition of Air Canada and WestJet to the “vaccinated” column grows the list of airlines that are now requiring immunizations for employees. Delta was the first to mandate vaccinations for new hires in the Spring, and United, Hawaiian, and Frontier have at least some form of vaccine requirements for employees. Delta was the first to mandate vaccinations for new hires in the Spring, and United, Hawaiian, and Frontier have at least some form of vaccine requirements for employees. The Supreme Court in the United States has thus far thrown out two challenges to vaccine mandates, upholding a 1905 decision that allows employers and other organizations to require them. 


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons



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