Next Monday, the Canadian government will remove the obligation for travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a plane or train in the country.
On the other hand, it will leave the vaccination requirements for entering Canada as is as well as the quarantine and screening rules for Canadians who have not been adequately vaccinated. “All travelers entering Canada will need to follow all entry requirements including vaccinations and use ArriveCAN” – an app that contains proof of vaccinations – after which they can travel by plane or train from one corner of the country to the other without having to present their vaccination passport again The Minister of Transport, Omar Al-Ghabra, summed it up, during a press briefing on Parliament Hill, on Tuesday afternoon.
On the other hand, travelers will have to make sure they have proof of vaccination on hand if their destination country – the United States for example – orders one, he said.
In addition to passengers traveling on an airplane or train, transport sector employees under federal regulations as well as federal civil servants, including members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), will no longer be required from next Monday to provide proof of vaccination.
However, the federal government is not ready to follow in the footsteps of provinces that dropped their obligation to wear face coverings in public and on public transportation. Mr Alghabra said travelers will have to continue to wear a mask on planes and trains even if, for some, it is “a minor nuisance”.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominique LeBlanc insisted that the “amendments” to health measures announced on Tuesday were “based on scientific evidence” and not on the latest statistics on waiting times at airports.
For the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), “time to suspend compulsory vaccination for travel on national territory.” “The sectors most affected by the epidemic and restrictions will be able to breathe,” she said.
Toward a mandatory third dose?
For his part, the Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, called on Canadians to “update” their vaccination status by the fall when COVID-19 could launch a new attack. “In plain English, this means that if you qualify for a third or even a fourth dose under public health recommendations, you should get it ASAP,” he said. Before specifying that “the two doses are no longer sufficient because over time the acquired immunity diminishes thanks to two doses of the current vaccine.”
To date, more than 31 million Canadians, or 86% of the eligible population, have been vaccinated with two doses against COVID-19. But the proportion of those who received their booster doses (55% of those aged 12 and over) was “very low”. Mr. Duclos noted that Canada has “the lowest rate among the G7 countries and this is not good”.
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