LAST UPDATED: October 13, 2021
On October 6, 2021, the federal government announced that by October 30, 2021, all travellers age 12 years and up must be fully vaccinated to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.
However, the federal government also stated that it would implement a one-month “transition period” until November 30, 2021, for travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, during which time they will be able to travel if they can show a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel.
It is unclear whether travellers will need to show that they have begun a vaccination regimen to take advantage of the negative COVID test option during the transition period.
Once the transition period ends on November 30th, all travellers age 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated and a negative COVID test will no longer be accepted as an alternative.
The new vaccination requirement applies specifically to:
- Air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada
- Rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
- Marine passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more
According to the CBC:
It will be up to air, rail and marine operators to "establish processes to verify vaccine status," a government official said, adding the government expects these companies to accept provincial vaccine passports as proof of status. A standardized, pan-Canadian proof of vaccination document for international travel is still in the works, but the details have not yet been announced.
Full details of the new Canadian government policy requiring travellers to be fully vaccinated can be found here
What counts as “Fully Vaccinated”?
For the purposes of this new requirement, "fully vaccinated" is defined as a full series of a Health Canada-approved vaccine, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days prior to the day of travel. A combination of approved shots is also acceptable.
U.S. and other countries may define “Fully Vaccinated” differently
However, it is important to keep in mind that the “fully vaccinated” definition above is the Canadian government’s definition, and other countries that require travellers to be vaccinated to enter may have a different definition of “fully vaccinated”.
For example, the U.S. has stated that at some point in November it will require all travellers arriving by air to be fully vaccinated and will re-open the land border to fully vaccinated Canadians, but they have not yet clarified their definition of fully vaccinated, which may be different than the Canadian definition. Once these rules come into effect, Canadians intending to travel to the United States by land or air will need to comply with the U.S. definition of “fully vaccinated” as well.