Immunizations will now be mandatory for all federal public service employees and the government expects this to extend to employees of other crown corporations as well, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said at the meeting. a press conference on Friday afternoon.
Passengers wishing to travel on commercial planes, interprovincial trains and cruise ships will also need to be vaccinated to board, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. The announcements come as COVID-19 cases increase across Canada, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.
The warrants are both expected to come into effect this fall, although LeBlanc said the government was moving quickly on a plan for public service employees. “We will take the time necessary to get it right, but we will also act very quickly,” said LeBlanc, adding that the government would work with key stakeholders, including unions and bargaining agents, to work out the details of the plan.
As the country’s largest employer, the federal government “must lead by example,” Leblanc said. Federally regulated industries are being urged to follow suit, and the government plans to work closely with businesses over the coming weeks, he added.
Government employees who are medically unable to get the vaccine will work directly with “appropriate officials” to ensure measures are in place, LeBlanc said. He did not explain, when pressed by reporters, the possible ramifications for employees who may be vaccinated but choose not to receive it, saying only that these workers will be “treated individually” by their managers.
Employers in federally regulated industries will be required to formulate a plan to ensure a mandate is imposed no later than the end of October, Alghabra said. This same mandate extends to “certain travelers”, including those traveling on commercial planes, interprovincial trains and large ships with overnight accommodation.
People unable to get vaccinated will be subject to measures such as tests and screenings. “Vaccine requirements in the transportation sector will help protect the safety of employees, their families, passengers, their communities and all Canadians,” said Alghabra, adding that Canadians “deserve to be safe when traveling that the environment around them is safe.
Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be eligible for a government document proving their vaccination status. While this is intended for use in international travel, provinces may choose to implement it nationally.