The Canadian federal government has recently announced new nationwide vaccination requirements for travelers, federally regulated transportation employees and federal public servants.
According to the following statement, effective October 30, the following types of travelers within Canada will need to present proof of vaccination to board:
- 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 passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more. This does not appear to apply to provincial ferry systems.
There will be a short transition period for travelers who are in the process of being vaccinated. Such travelers can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel. However, by November 30, all travelers must be fully vaccinated, with only a few exceptions such as for travelers with medical conditions precluding vaccination.
Travel (particularly by air) is a necessity for many Canadian employees. Employers should ensure that their employees who are required to travel for work are able to comply with the upcoming requirements. Employees who must regularly travel by the above means of transportation for work and who refuse to comply other than for reasons protected under Human Rights legislation, such as a medical condition which precludes vaccination, and thus are unable to perform core job functions can be subject to reassignment or potentially to termination. There are serious consequences for falsifying information or failing to comply. For air travel, passengers could be fined up to $5,000 per violation.
Effective October 30, federally-regulated transportation sector employers will be required to establish vaccination policies for the following:
- 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
The vaccination policy must:
- Include a provision requiring employees to make 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 Core Public Administration (see below).
According to the statement, after a phase-in period, each organization is required to guarantee employees are fully vaccinated or they will be unable to work. The statement does not indicate how long that phase-in period may be.
Federal Public Service
Under a new policy, federal public servants in the Core Public Administration, including members of the RCMP, will be required to confirm their vaccination status by October 29, 2021. Those who are unwilling to disclose their vaccination status or to be fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15, 2021.
If your organization is impacted by these announcements and wish to discuss how to navigate the new vaccination requirements, you can contact us at: