What you need to know about Canada's new COVID-19 rules for train, plane passengers
BARRIE, ONT. -- Beginning Saturday, those looking to travel by plane, train or ship in Canada will have to prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new rules, announced by the federal government earlier this month will officially go into effect at 3 a.m. EDT.
Here’s a look at what the new rules mean for travellers.
WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
According to Travel Canada, anyone who is 12 years of age or older will now need to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The rules apply to anyone who is travelling by plane on domestic, transborder or international flights and rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
That means in order to board, all travellers will have had to have received their second dose at least 14 days before their departure date.
The new rules will also apply to travellers looking to board a cruise ship in Canada, once those trips resume.
Travel Canada says anyone boarding a cruise ship or other passenger vessel where the trip will last more than 24 hours will need to show proof of vaccination.
For now, the federal government is continuing to advise Canadians to avoid travelling on cruise ships.
According to the Travel Canada website, there will be a “short transition period” lasting until Nov. 29, during which travellers who may be in the process of being vaccinated will have the option to show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test instead.
That test must be taken within 72 hours of their travel date and rapid tests -- also known as antigen tests -- will not be accepted.
However, beginning Nov. 30, proof a negative COVID-19 molecular test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to proof of having had your COVID-19 shots.
That means if you cannot prove that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board.
Travel Canada says there will be “very limited exemptions,” adding that more information will be provided in the coming weeks.
FLY-IN COMMUNITY EXEMPTION
Those living in fly-in communities will be exempt from the vaccine travel requirement, according to Canada’s transport minister.
Speaking at a press conference in Toronto on Friday, Omar Alghabra said residents who leave their remote communities to access essential services will not need to be vaccinated to board a plane.
WHICH VACCINES ARE ACCEPTED?
If you’re aged 12 and up, you will have to provide proof that you have received two doses of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, or a mix.
Currently, travellers will be permitted to board if you have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty), the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine or the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine.
The rules specify, though, that you must have received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to your departure date.
Those who can prove they have received one dose of Janssen’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be allowed to board as long as they received the shot 14 days before their travel date.
OLD RULES STILL IN PLACE
Other rules implemented earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic for travellers, including mandatory masks and negative test requirements for international travellers, remain in place.
-With a file from The Canadian Press