TORONTO — Making good on plans to mandate proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for Canadian air and rail passengers is one of the top five priorities for the federal government, says Justin Trudeau.
In a media briefing yesterday in Ottawa, one of his first media availabilities since he won the election on Sept. 20, Trudeau listed his top to-do’s on his list as the Liberals form the next government.
Number two on the list was mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for any Canadian traveller.
And number three was making sure that there’s a vaccine passport to facilitate international travel.
A reporter first asked Trudeau if he had any advice for Canadians looking to travel in the months ahead, “so they’re not caught unaware”.
Answered Trudeau: “If you’re planning on getting on a plane or a train in the coming weeks or months, make sure that you and all members of your family over 12 years old have gotten vaccinated and are getting your second shot if you haven’t already, because you will not be able to travel on a plane or a train in Canada if you are not fully vaccinated.”
He added: “I’ve been very clear on this for weeks now. I said that we were going to require every person who gets on a plane or a train in Canada to be fully vaccinated. So if people have plans to go on vacation or to see their loved ones on the other side of the country in the coming weeks and months, they will have to ensure that they will be fully vaccinated by then.”
The federal government first announced mandatory proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for Canadian air, interprovincial rail and cruise ship passengers back on Aug. 13, just before the election was called.
As for Canada’s vaccine passport for international travel, that’s also a top five priority. “We’re going to continue to work on establishing international proof of vaccination, so that Canadians who are fully vaccinated who want to travel overseas are fully recognized in their vaccination status when they travel,” Trudeau said yesterday.
Talk of Canada’s vaccine passport for international travel has been ongoing since spring 2021, when Health Minister Patty Hajdu and others confirmed that Canada was working in collaboration with other G7 countries to make sure any certification from Canada aligned with other vaccine passports overseas.
The EU’s Digital Green Certificate has been in use in EU countries for several months now. In June 2021 Trudeau said Canada’s proof of vaccination system for international travel could be in place by fall 2021.
However from the campaign trail earlier this month, he said “we will be bringing in that more formalized version in the coming months or a year perhaps”, and suggested that the Liberal party was open to working with the provinces to certify provincial vaccine passports for use for international travel.
The majority of Canadian provinces now have vaccine passports or they’re in the works. Meanwhile the ArriveCAN app is working as a stop-gap measure. Also on Trudeau’s top 5 list: footing the bill for provinces and territories who have moved forward on proof of vaccination certificates or vaccine passports. Trudeau has said the federal government will provide $1 billion to help provinces and territories shoulder that cost.