WestJet to require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Mandatory vaccination increasingly on the radar for travel and more: UK’s Shapps, and Trudeau

TORONTO — As the momentum grows for proof of full vaccination, for a return to anything close to a normal life post-pandemic, including travel, more politicians are stepping up with strong messaging.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC that mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for international travel could be the case “for evermore”, in an effort to keep travel efficient and safe as the world comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As reported in the Financial Times, Shapps told the BBC: “I think double vaccination or full vaccination is going to be a feature for evermore, and most countries, probably all countries, will require full vaccination for you to enter.”

Shapps also had a message for younger people who, based on low risk factors, might not have prioritized getting their COVID-19 vaccinations up until now: “If you are perhaps in your twenties and you feel like ‘oh this does not really affect me’, well it is going to because you are not going to be able to leave the country. That is not something the British government is doing, that is something that is being required by every government around the world.”

Shapps’ comments came on the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed questions about travel, the Canada-U.S. border and the need to get vaccinated.

As reported yesterday on Travelweek.ca, when asked about Canada’s decision to reopen its border to fully vaccinated U.S. travellers effective Aug. 9, and the rest of the world Sept. 7, Trudeau said: “We also know the {Canadians] who did their share, who got vaccinated, we owe it to them to come back to a somewhat normal life. We cannot fully live in fear because of a percentage of people who continue to hesitate.”

With a note of impatience, Trudeau added: “There’s no more excuses. It’s time for people to get vaccinated. Those who continue to hesitate to get vaccinated, are prolonging the pandemic in Canada and elsewhere in the world.”

Trudeau also said that the federal government is looking into mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for federal workers, and potentially also federally regulated industries including the airline and rail industries.

Yesterday United Airlines became the first major U.S. airline to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for its employees. The new policy is expected to come into effect in the fall. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are among the U.S. companies that have been requiring new hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for workplaces has been brewing for months. Jennifer Philpott, an Associate with Goulart Workplace Lawyers, answered questions on the topic for this Q&A in Travelweek.