Canada: Vaccine Mandate for All Air Travel, Cruise Passengers

Canada: Vaccine Mandate for All Air Travel, Cruise Passengers


Canada Will Require Full Vaccination of All Airplane Passengers and Cruisers no later than the end of October 2021. The Canadian Government will also require flight crew and all employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and cruise industries to be vaccinated by the end of October, with vaccination for the federal public service mandated by the end of September.

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra noted that the mandate will hasten Canada's recovery from the pandemic, and emphasized that “Canadians deserve to feel confident, when traveling, that the environment around them is safe.”

Air Canada is supportive of the government's mandate, noting “it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers and all Canadians.”

Canada reopened to fully vaccinated Americans on August 9, and has plans to reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from all countries on September 7, 2021, although only if COVID-19 cases are low.

Canada has surpassed the U.S. in per capita vaccination, with over 71 percent of eligible Canadians (age 12 and older) fully vaccinated. Even so, as with most other countries in the world, Canada is experiencing an increase in new COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant. At the country level, new cases remain relatively low, an average of 4 daily per 100,000, although this masks disparities among provinces. Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Saskatchewan are all at 9-10 new cases per 100K, while Quebec and Ontario are at 3 per 100K, followed by Manitoba at 2, New Brunswich at 1, and PEI and the Northwest Territories at less than 1. Canada's active Covid cases have doubled over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have risen over 10 percent in the last week. The Canadian government reports that fewer than 1 percent of COVID-19 cases have been among those who were fully vaccinated.

We have no great fondness for Air Canada, which was one of the worst airlines, along with TAP Air Portugal (see Best and Worst Airlines for Refunds from Cancelled Flights) when it came to refunding passengers for pandemic-related cancellations and only grudgingly refunded passengers as a condition of government aid (see Air Canada Challenges DoT on Refunds and Air Canada Refund Deadline). But the Canadian Government's vaccine mandate is heartening and the kind of leadership we'd like to see more of. Flights are a critical piece of transportation for many, and with kids under 12 still unable to be vaccinated amid the spread of the Delta variant, the least the rest of us eligible for life saving vaccines can do is to get vaccinated and protect them.

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