THE federal government announced on Tuesday that as of June 20 it will suspend vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.
The government said that while the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally. Given this context, and because vaccination rates and virus control in other countries vary significantly, current vaccination requirements at the border will remain in effect. This will reduce the potential impact of international travel on Canada’s health care system and serve as added protection against any future variant.
Other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, continue to apply and will be enforced throughout a traveller’s journey on a plane or train.
Travellers and transportation workers
* As of June 20, the vaccination requirement to board a plane or a train in Canada will be suspended.
* In addition, federally regulated transport sector employers will no longer be required to have mandatory vaccination policies in place for employees.
* Due to the unique nature of cruise ship travel, vaccination requirements for passengers and crew of cruise ships will continue to remain in effect.
* Masking and other public health protection measures will continue to be in place and enforced on planes, trains, and ships.
* Current border measures, including the existing vaccination requirement for most foreign nationals to enter Canada, and quarantine and testing requirements for Canadians who have not received their primary vaccine series, remain in effect.
Federal public service
* Also on June 20, the “Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police” will be suspended.
* Employees of the CPA will be strongly encouraged to remain up to date with their vaccinations; however, they will no longer be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
* As such, employees who are on administrative leave without pay for noncompliance with the Policy in force until now will be contacted by their managers to arrange their return to regular work duties.
Crown corporations and separate agencies will also be asked to suspend vaccine requirements, and the vaccination requirement for supplier personnel accessing federal government workplaces will also be suspended. With the suspension of vaccination requirements, employees placed on unpaid leave may return to work. The government and other employers will ensure that these employees can resume their duties as seamlessly as possible.
Also, the Government of Canada is no longer moving forward with proposed regulations under Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Canada Labour Code to make vaccination mandatory in all federally regulated workplaces.
The government said it will not hesitate to make adjustments based on the latest public health advice and science to keep Canadians safe. This could include an up-to-date vaccination mandate at the border, the reimposition of public service and transport vaccination mandates, and the introduction of vaccination mandates in federally regulated workplaces in the fall, if needed.
Entry requirements remain for travel to Canada from abroad
Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents returning from international destinations who do not qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption continue to be required to provide a valid pre-entry test result, remain subject to Day 1 and Day 8 molecular testing, and quarantine for 14 days.
In addition, all travellers entering Canada are required to input their mandatory information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada. Travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may be subject to Day 1, Day 8 molecular testing, quarantine for 14 days, and to fines or other enforcement actions, regardless of their vaccination status.
Vaccine requirements for entry into Canada by foreign nationals remain unchanged at this time. Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated continue to be prohibited entry into Canada. With the suspension of the domestic mandate, unvaccinated foreign nationals will continue to be able to depart Canada by plane or train.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said: “While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally. The science is also perfectly clear on one thing: vaccination remains the single most effective way to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our economy against COVID-19. We don’t know what we may or may not face come autumn, but we know that we must remain prudent, which is why our government continues to strongly encourage everyone in Canada to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes recommended booster doses.”