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Canada Announces Mandatory Vaccines for Travel

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In a News Release published August 13th, Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced the Federal Government of Canada will be introducing mandatory vaccination requirements for all Federal Public Servants,

The mandate will also be implemented by Crown corporations and other federally regulated businesses.

The government says it also "expects" that other employers in federally regulated sectors — like banking, broadcasting and telecommunication — will require vaccination for their employees. "The government will work with these employers to ensure this result," the government said in a statement announcing the new mandate.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc made it clear this is not optional. "This is a mandatory requirement to go to work in a federal workplace or work in the government of Canada," he said.

Also within the Press Release is the inclusion of restrictions for the general public who have not yet been vaccinated, for all domestic travel by air, rail and ship, including cruise ships, which will apply to the estimated 5.7 million Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated.

In addition, as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the Government of Canada will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travellers. This includes all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.

It can be expected that this will impact both the Travel and Tourism Sector and business travel unless exemptions are forthcoming.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation has issued a statement on this announcement.

While the CCF strongly supports voluntary vaccinations, government mandated proof of vaccination for domestic travel crosses a bright line. Canadians should not have to demonstrate their vaccination status to travel to see their family members. The policy is unjustified in light of Canada’s rates of vaccination, one of the highest in the world. It creates the absurdity that Canadians will be subject to more stringent requirements to travel from Calgary to Vancouver than from Toronto to Paris.

Joanna Baron, Executive Director, commented: “The government’s motivation in announcing this policy days before the writ is set to drop is clearly to create a wedge issue in advance of the coming federal election. In doing so, they are running roughshod over Canadians’ constitutional rights, particularly the section 6 right to mobility and the section 7 right to security of the person.”

It is expected that this will become an election issue with an Federal Election expected before October. Should the Liberal Party win a majority it will be viewed as a mandate to impose the travel restrictions, despite the conflict with Charter Rights.