MONTREAL — The Government of Canada’s new vaccination mandate came into effect over the weekend, requiring employees and travellers in the air and rail sectors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Previously announced on Aug. 13, the mandate applies to all travellers 12 years of age plus four months who are air passengers flying on domestic, transborder, or international flights departing from certain airports in Canada, and rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains. As of Oct. 30, travellers must show airlines and railways proof of vaccination, however, for a short transition period until Nov. 29, 2021, they have the option to show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test in order to board.
In line with the new regulations, VIA Rail Canada has unveiled its new mandatory vaccination policy, requiring everyone 12 years of age and older onboard its trains to show proof of vaccination as of Oct. 30.
Passengers have until Nov. 30 to show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel time, in lieu of proof of vaccination, during a one-month transition period. After Nov. 30, all passengers must be fully vaccinated in order to board VIA’s trains.
“Protecting the health and safety of our people, our passengers and the public is more than just a main priority, it is a core value deeply rooted in VIA Rail’s culture and a responsibility that we all share,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The implementation of this mandatory vaccination policy, in line with directives from the Government of Canada, will provide an added layer of protection against COVID-19 and make our trains safer, so that our passengers can continue to travel with confidence.”
VIA Rail has also developed a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees, which is also in line with the federal government’s requirements. Those who have not begun their vaccination process by Nov. 15 will be placed on administrative leave.
As a reminder, wearing a mask is required at all times in VIA Rail’s stations and onboard VIA Rail trains. Those who do not wear a mask during their trip will be required to disembark the train or will be refused entry upon boarding.
For full details on VIA Rail’s policies and health and safety measures go to https://www.viarail.ca/en/preventive-measures-COVID-19.