Air travel associations call for federal vaccine passport for new vaccine mandate

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Transportation industry associations say the federal government’s development of a national vaccine passport will be vital for airlines to carry out a vaccine mandate for air travellers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that proof of vaccination will be mandatory for people travelling by air and rail by the end of October.

The government says travellers will still be allowed to board with a negative COVID-19 test rather than proof of vaccination until the end of November.

At that point, Trudeau said a vaccination will be required to travel except in extremely limited cases where a medical exemption is granted.


The National Airlines Council of Canada said it has supported a vaccine mandate for travellers since the policy was first announced in August, but said a standardized proof-of-vaccination system across the country needs to be developed quickly.

The federal government said it is continuing to work with provinces and territories to develop a pan-Canadian proof of vaccination system, but did not give an update on when it’s expected to be complete.

The Canadian Airports Council also welcomed the policy, but said it still has more questions than answers around implementation.

“We have no insight on how the vaccine mandate for travellers will actually work,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch in a statement, questioning whether use of the federal government’s existing app will be required to show proof of vaccination, or whether airlines will be asked to verify papers.

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“These are critical factors to understand, as it impacts the flow of travellers at airports and the kind of experience our fully vaccinated travellers will have in air travel at a time when we need to rebuild traveller confidence and rebuild our travel and tourism businesses.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept 6, 2021.

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