Vaccine mandates are coming to an end on Monday next week for those wanting to board a plane or train or any other mode of federally-regulated travel in Canada and for federal government employees too.
But foreign nationals entering Canada will still face the same rules for entry at the border.
“Vaccine requirements for entry into Canada by foreign nationals remain unchanged at this time,” the Canadian government notes on its website. “Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated continue to be prohibited entry into Canada.”
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The Canadian government is still wary of foreign nationals coming into the country because vaccination rates and virus control in other countries vary significantly from one country to the other. For this reason, the vaccine mandates are still in effect at the border.
Wear A Face Mask On Trains And Planes, Says Ottawa
“This will reduce the potential impact of international travel on our health care system and serve as added protection against any future variant,” notes the government. “Other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, continue to apply and will be enforced throughout a traveller’s journey on a plane or train.”
The vaccine mandates will also remain in place for the cruise ship industry for both passengers and crew.
Ottawa is crediting its COVID-19 vaccination program for lowering case counts and fatalities and says this is the reason the government can now drop these vaccine mandates for Canadians and permanent residents as of June 20.
The coronavirus which has so far caused a reported 41,575 deaths and led to 3.9 million cases of COVID-19 in Canada, though, remains a threat to the health of Canadians and the government is still urging caution.
“While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve and circulate in Canada and globally,” cautioned Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
“The science is also perfectly clear on one thing: vaccination remains the single most effective way to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our economy against COVID-19. We don’t know what we may or may not face come autumn but we know that we must remain prudent which is why our government continues to strongly encourage everyone in Canada to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines which include recommended booster doses.”
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During the pandemic, nearly 90 per cent of Canadians, 32 million, got vaccinated against COVID-19 and case counts have plummeted since the peak of the most recent wave with the reported seven-day average number of daily cases in Canada falling to 1,955 on June 15 from 42,196 on Jan. 6 of this year.
Canada now has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination in the world and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra credits that vaccination program for keeping the damage done during the pandemic to a minimum.
“The mandatory vaccination requirement successfully mitigated the full impact of COVID-19 for travellers and workers in the transportation sector and provided broader protection to our communities,” he said.
“Suspending this requirement is possible thanks to the tens of millions of Canadians who did the right thing: they stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, and got vaccinated. This action will support Canada’s transportation system as we recover from the pandemic.”
Even with the dropping of the vaccine mandates for those boarding planes and trains in Canada, the requirement to don face masks in planes and on trains will remain.
“Throughout this pandemic, our government’s approach has been rooted in close collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners,” said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “We all have a role to play in keeping Canadians safe. Our government will continue to make decisions based on the best public health advice and adjust its measures accordingly.”