Ottawa travelers face new COVID-19 vaccination rules for train and air travel

OTTAWA – Travelers planning to board an Ottawa International Airport or VIA Rail flight at Ottawa Train Station must now be fully vaccinated.

New rules that came into force at 3 a.m. Saturday, requires everyone 12 years of age and older to provide proof that they have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to fly on domestic, cross-border or international flights departing from Canadian airports. The rules also apply to all passengers traveling by VIA Rail and Rocky Mountain trains.

“This is a great idea. I want to feel confident that everyone on the plane will be vaccinated,” a traveler at Ottawa Airport said Friday.

“We all need to do our part to keep our communities safe, and that’s another way we can do it,” said Kara Brisson-Boivin, who travels regularly for work.

“We’re close to people we do not know, people do not know me, I do not know others. I feel better knowing that we will all be kept to the same practice to keep each other healthy.”

The federal government says all travelers must show airlines and railroads proof of vaccination. At airports, the Canadian Air Transport Safety Authority will support operators by confirming vaccination status.

To prove that you have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can present your provincial vaccination certificate. To qualify, people must have received their last dose 14 days before boarding a plane or train.

The federal government provides a “short transition period” with unvaccinated travelers who can travel if they show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel. The government says rapid tests – known as antigen tests – will not be accepted by airlines and VIA Rail.

From November 30, only fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed on planes, trains and boats in Canada.

“Requiring travelers and employees to be vaccinated ensures that everyone who travels and works in the transportation industry will protect each other and keep Canadians safe,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement Friday.

The government says there will be “few exceptions” for emergencies and special accommodations for designated remote communities so residents can continue to have access to essential services.

All travelers will still be required to wear masks on planes and trains.

The requirements for proof of vaccination will be applied to travelers boarding a cruise ship in Canada when these voyages resume next year.


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