All potential travelers should also be fully immunized by October 30 before boarding planes, trains or ships. To bolster vaccination rates at a standstill, the federal government will require all its “core public administration” and RCMP employees to be fully immunized or to seek medical or religious exemptions by the end of the month. .
Federal contractors, like cleaning staff, must also be fully immunized to gain access to government buildings. The estimated 267,000 employees covered by this policy must report their immunization status by October 29.
If employees have still not been vaccinated or have not received accommodation under the Canadian Human Rights Act two weeks after that date, they will be subject to “disciplinary action which could ultimately cost them their jobs, ”a senior government official told a technical conference. briefing with reporters before Trudeau’s announcement.
Unvaccinated employees will be prohibited from commuting to work, in person or remotely, and they will be placed on administrative leave and denied pay. A senior official said these employees would not be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
“These travel measures, along with the mandatory vaccination for federal employees, are among the strongest in the world because when it comes to protecting you and your family, avoiding blockages for everyone, this now is not the time for half measures, ”Trudeau said.
“If you’ve done the right thing and got the vaccine, you deserve the freedom to be COVID-free. To keep your children safe from COVID. To get back to the things you love. “
Employees who fall under this mandate will not be required to produce proof of vaccination. Instead, it is essentially based on an honor system: employees will be required to sign an attestation form certifying that they have had the necessary vaccines.
These attestation forms will be audited and managers will be able to request proof of vaccination at any time.
“Lying would mean disciplinary action would be taken. It is a consequence for an employee to lie, ”said a senior government official, adding that a false statement would violate the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and could result in dismissal.
Federally regulated industries
As of October 30, all employers in the federally regulated air, rail and marine industries will be required to implement mandatory vaccination policies for their organizations. After a short phase-in period, these companies will be required to ensure that their employees are fully immunized; unvaccinated workers would be forced to quit their jobs.
All airline and airport personnel, including those working in restaurants or retail stores in the post-security zone, should be fully immunized. All federally regulated railway employees, including railway personnel and track employees, should be vaccinated. Marine operators with Canadian vessels must also ensure that their workers are vaccinated.
Other Crown corporations – including Canada Post and CBC / Radio Canada – and government entities like the House of Commons and the Senate will be “asked to reflect the same policy, but will have to do so within their own framework. governance and authority, ”said one official mentioned.
The Acting Chief of Staff will also shortly be issuing a directive requiring the vaccination of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
As of October 30, all travelers aged 12 and over taking flights from Canadian airports or traveling on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains must be fully immunized before boarding. Sea passengers aboard non-essential passenger ships like cruise ships should also complete the vaccination series before traveling.
“For the vast, vast majority of people, the rules are very simple – to travel you have to be vaccinated,” Trudeau said.
“If you haven’t received your shots yet but want to travel this winter, let me be clear, there will only be a few extremely narrow exceptions, such as a valid medical condition. “
It will be up to air, rail and marine operators “to establish processes to verify the status of vaccines,” a government official said, adding that the government expects these companies to accept provincial vaccine passports as proof of status. . Standardized pan-Canadian vaccination proof for international travel is still in the works, but details have not yet been announced.
“We are meeting the first of our vaccine commitments and in the coming weeks we will be doing the work on a vaccine passport for international travel,” Trudeau said.
Measures targeting the unvaccinated
To be considered a ‘fully vaccinated traveler’, a person must have received a full series of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine – a combination of approved vaccines is also acceptable – the last dose having been administered at least 14 days before the day of travel. A government official said there would be a “short transition phase” for travelers to show a negative COVID-19 molecular test result instead of proof of vaccination – until November 30.
The plan comes as public health officials urge people who resist vaccines to get vaccinated to curb a deadly resurgence of the virus in some provinces. The millions of Canadians who have so far avoided getting vaccinated have sparked a fourth wave of the pandemic, with the much more contagious delta strain of the virus circulating.
While 88% of the eligible Canadian population has received at least one injection, Trudeau said more people need to roll up their sleeves at a time when vaccine doses are plentiful and the number of cases is on the rise.
According to a CBC News estimate, there are still more than four million people over the age of 12 who have chosen to forgo a photo altogether or wait for a later date.
“Vaccine mandates are working,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said, adding that some of the unvaccinated are not strongly opposed to vaccines but just need a “push to get them to take this step.” .
An increase in vaccination rates has been reported after some provinces announced that proof of vaccination will be required for those entering non-essential businesses, such as bars or restaurants.
“These mandates will push us towards a level of immunization high enough that our economy can continue to be open and our children can go to school,” Freeland said.