Canada to end vaccine mandates for domestic travellers, transportation workers

Shelby Thevenot
Published: June 14, 2022

As of 00:01 Eastern Time on June 20, Canada will suspend vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.

Canadian government officials said the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada. Nearly 90% of Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and case counts have decreased.

The current vaccination requirements remain in effect at the border, as coronavirus continues to circulate throughout the globe and the risks of infection vary by country. These requirements include quarantine and testing requirements for Canadians who have not been fully vaccinated.

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Vaccination requirements for passengers and crew of cruise ships will continue to remain in effect. Other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, continue to apply on planes and trains.

The Government of Canada says it could potentially reimpose vaccine mandates if the public health situation calls for it.

Travellers have had to be fully vaccinated on all Canadian federal modes of transport since October 30, 2021, with some flexibility for the 30 days following where unvaccinated travellers could provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. At the time, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said it was to keep travellers and employees in the industry safe.

However, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, experts are questioning the effectiveness of vaccine mandates for travel. Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam has said the more infectious variant requires a third dose for effective protection.

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travellers continue to need two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Canada will also be suspending random COVID-19 testing at all airports between Saturday, June 11 and Thursday, June 30, 2022, in an effort to address congestion. Unvaccinated travellers will still be tested on-site. Starting July 1, all testing will be performed off-site.

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