Canada provides new details on vaccine requirements and exemptions for travellers

Alexandra Miekus
Published: October 29, 2021

Starting tomorrow, Canada will require travellers departing from Canadian airports and travelling on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains to be fully vaccinated.

The measure, which takes effect Oct. 30 at 3 a.m., applies to travellers age 12 and older who use federally regulated modes of transportation. This includes all domestic and international flights from Canadian airports, VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer train passengers, and cruise ship passengers on voyages of 24 hours or more.

Travellers who have started but not completed the vaccination process may present proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test until November 29. After that date, they will not be allowed to travel, except under limited exemptions.

The federal government had announced plans to roll out these measures in early October.

Today, the government indicated that transitional measures have been put in place for unvaccinated foreign nationals who normally reside outside of Canada and who entered Canada prior to October 30. Until February 28, they will be able to leave Canada by air if they present proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test at the time of travel.

Those who are unvaccinated and who test positive for COVID-19 during travel will not be permitted to travel further or return to their point of departure until they have completed 14 days in isolation.

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Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, who made the announcement today, also reaffirmed that a number of exemptions will be granted to allow emergencies and remote communities to access essential services. Details of these exemptions have not yet been provided.

Alghabra also indicated that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will assist carriers in verifying the immunization status of travellers.

On October 21, the federal government announced that it was developing a standardized Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination to facilitate international travel, in collaboration with the provinces.

Travellers may use proof of vaccination issued by the local health authority in their province or territory where their vaccinations were registered, or by their country of vaccination, provided that it is a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Government of Canada.

The Government of Canada reminds travellers that they may be subject to other provincial or territorial measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is the traveller's responsibility to familiarize themselves with potential restrictions at their final destination.

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