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Canada to end COVID-19 vaccine mandates for domestic, outbound international travel

COVID-19Canada to end COVID-19 vaccine mandates for domestic, outbound international travel

The Canadian government is suspending vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees, effective June 20. All re-entry requirements will remain in effect and all passengers will continue to have to wear face masks.

The change will allow unvaccinated Canadians to board planes and trains heading to either domestic or international locations, but they will still be required to follow the current testing and quarantine requirements upon re-entry from international destinations.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement on Tuesday, June 14.

“The mandatory vaccination requirement successfully mitigated the full impact of COVID-19 for travellers and workers in the transportation sector and provided broader protection to our communities,” Alghabra said. “Suspending this requirement is possible thanks to the tens of millions of Canadians who did the right thing: they stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and got vaccinated. This action will support Canada’s transportation system as we recover from the pandemic.”

The Canadian government says this move is coming now “following a successful vaccination campaign.” Nearly 90 per cent of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally,” Duclos said. “The science is also perfectly clear on one thing: vaccination remains the single most effective way to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our economy against COVID-19. We don’t know what we may or may not face come autumn, but we know that we must remain prudent, which is why our government continues to strongly encourage everyone in Canada to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes recommended booster doses.”

As of June 20, federally regulated transport sector employers will no longer be required to have mandatory vaccination policies in place for employees.

However, “due to the unique nature of cruise ship travel,” vaccination requirements for passengers and crew of cruise ships will continue to remain in effect.

Also on June 20, the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be suspended. Employees of the CPA will be strongly encouraged to remain up to date with their vaccinations; however, they will no longer be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

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