It’s been a good past couple of days for Canadians who are eager to travel this summer. Last week the country suspended random COVID testing at all its airports for the rest of June to ease the long waiting times that travelers have been facing.
Now there is even more good news for travelers in Canada.
Unvaccinated Canadians will no longer face domestic vaccine mandates
The federal government will suspend its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Ottawa announced on Tuesday, allowing unvaccinated Canadians to travel domestically by air and train, and internationally by air as of June 20.
It will also lift its vaccine mandate for federal employees, including the RCMP and federal regulated transportation sector workers.
Ottawa first introduced a vaccine mandate on Oct. 30 last year. The mandate required that all passengers over the age of 12 departing from a Canadian airport be fully vaccinated in order to travel.
It also applied to rail passengers on Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, as well as marine passengers on non-essential vessels such as cruise ships.
Cruise ships will have to wait a little longer.
While air and rail travelers will no longer need to be vaccinated in order to travel, the mandate will still remain in place for cruise ship passengers and employees. The mask requirement for planes and trains will also remain in place.
Canada’s airports have been facing catastrophic wait times.
If you’ve been to an airport in Canada recently, there’s a good chance you’ve dealt with more than your average level of chaos. Some of the issues include hours-long security lineups, delayed or cancelled flights, passengers stuck on the tarmac and major congestion at border security.
Canada’s outdated rules are causing unacceptable delays at the country’s major airports, keeping international visitors away and infuriating domestic travelers.
Pressure for Ottawa to drop its vaccine mandates has been ramping up in recent weeks, as delays continue to plague the country’s major airports, particularly at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
Travel industry groups have blamed federal public health measures and mandates for slowdowns at airport customs that have contributed to long waits for passengers and forced flight delays and cancellations and have put increasing pressure on the government to do away with them.
The Covid situation in Canada right now.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported a steadily declining number of COVID-19 cases, though provinces are no longer providing COVID-19 molecular tests for the general public and federal reporting has become less regimented.
While more than 89 per cent of Canadians over the age of 12 have at least two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, only about 55 per cent of them have received a booster shot.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories