On Friday, the government of Canada announced that all people traveling between provinces via air, train, and cruise ship will soon be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Vaccination is the most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians and to protect broader public health,” Canada’s Treasury Board said in a statement announcing the news.
“This includes all commercial air travelers, passengers on interprovincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.”
The plan to implement the mandate has not yet been revealed, but the requirement will likely take effect within the next few months, possibly as soon as the fall and no later than the end of October, according to Canada’s Treasury Department.
Canada, right now, has one of the highest percentages of vaccination among its population—more than 71% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated (compared to 59% in the U.S.) and 82% have gotten at least their first shot.
In a statement, Air Canada welcomed the news.
“Although Air Canada awaits further details about today's announcement on mandatory vaccinations, it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers, and all Canadians. Air Canada is committed to work with its unions and the Government of Canada to implement this new policy in an effective manner,” it said.
Also reacting to the news, WestJet called it a welcomed step forward for Canada.
“We continue to be a strong partner in Canada's vaccination rollout and are working diligently to implement the government's policy on mandatory vaccines for airline employees," said Mark Porter, WestJet Executive Vice-President, People, and Culture.
"Vaccinations are the most effective way to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, while curbing the spread of COVID-19."