OTTAWA -- Starting on Monday, all air passengers in Canada have to wear non-medical masks or a face covering that goes over their mouth and nose, or risk being denied boarding Transport Canada has announced.

Effective at noon on April 20, it’ll be required that anyone travelling through an airport or on an airplane wear a mask, including when going through screening checkpoints where the screeners are unable to keep two metres distance between themselves and the traveller.

For travellers looking to depart from, or arrive in Canada, it will be mandatory that they have a non-medical mask or adequate face covering during the boarding process or they will not be allowed to travel.

Transport Canada says that while it is not possible for everyone to wear a face mask at all times, they are encouraged to keep it on as much as possible, in addition to the points during their journey where the mask or face covering is required to be worn.

“Children under two years of age and those with underlying medical conditions may not be able to wear a non-medical mask or face covering, and there are times when travellers will need to show their face for safety or security reasons such as during identity verification check before boarding a plane, or at Canada customs when entering the country,” said the agency in a statement. 

And, while not mandatory, Transport Canada is urging anyone travelling on ferries, by rail, or on busses, to also don a non-medical mask or face covering, saying it’s a “strongly encouraged” public health measure to help prevent respiratory droplets from being spread to others around you or contaminating surfaces.

The national transportation agency says operators of ferries and other “essential passenger vehicles” will be asking their passengers to wear a mask during their trip if physical distance cannot be maintained, and warn that they could be denied boarding without one.

“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible. However, if you need to travel, wearing a face covering is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a statement.