Nov 9, 2021
Transport Canada Announces Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements for Employees and Travellers of Federally Regulated Transportation
S. Sonia Sidhu and Azra Alagic
On August 13, 2021, Canada’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra announced that the federal government will require COVID-19 vaccine policies for federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors.
As of November 1, 2021, public servants including staff working in government buildings of federally regulated transportation sectors must be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. Travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, as well as travellers departing from Canadian airports will also be required to be fully-vaccinated.
Until November 30, 2021, individuals who are not fully-vaccinated are able to provide a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, as an alternative. After this date, travellers who are not fully-vaccinated are at risk of not qualifying for travel. There are some exemptions, which include but are not limited to medical conditions, religious exceptions and/or an accommodation under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Once the pan-Canadian proof of vaccination is released to the public, it will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Until then, please follow your provincial guidelines to obtain your COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate.
Transport Canada will aim to ensure compliance including inspections and enforcement tools. For example, in the air sector, individuals—either travellers or employees—could be fined up to $5,000 per violation under the Aeronautics Act, and operators could be fined up to $25,000 per violation. Employees who are unable to work because of this new policy will not qualify for employment insurance benefits.
VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYEES
VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELLERS
The vaccination requirement applies to:
- airlines and airports, and other organizations who have employees who enter restricted areas of airports, such as concession and hospitality workers
- federally regulated railways, and their rail crew and track employees
- marine operators with Canadian vessels that operate with 12 or more crew
Each organization will be required to implement a rigorous policy, which must:
- Include a provision for employee attestation/declaration of their vaccination status
- Include a description of consequences for employees who do not comply or who falsify information
- Meet standards consistent with the approach taken by the Government of Canada for the Core Public Administration
- Guarantee employees are fully vaccinated or they will be unable to work, unless they qualify for an exemption or accommodation
The vaccination requirement applies to all travellers 12 years of age and older who are:
- Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada
- Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
- Marine passengers on non-essential vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more, such as cruise ships