Today marks the official start of Canada’s vaccination requirements for travel. Even though the rules came into effect at the end of October, there was a 30-day transition period that allowed unvaccinated travellers to present a negative test result instead. But, now that the grace period has ended, here’s what you need to know.
According to the federal government, all Canadians 12 years old and older will need to be fully vaccinated to board all “domestic or international flights departing from most airports in Canada, including charter and foreign airlines carrying commercial passengers.” The rules also apply to VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” says the government’s website.
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There are still a few specific exemptions to the requirement, which will allow travellers to take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours instead — you can find a list of the exemptions here.
Airlines are also upping their requirements for passengers. Air Canada and West Jet confirmed to CP24 that as of today, everyone boarding in Canada will be asked to present their proof.
To simplify the process, Canada has introduced a nationwide vaccine passport system which is now in effect in all provinces. Provinces like Ontario introduced the QR code system in the fall, so if you set that up, then you’ve already got your vaccine passport handy.
If you aren’t sure how to get yours, the government has provided a step-by-step guide to setting up your vaccine passport depending on where you live in Canada.