Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that as of October 30, all passengers travelling on commercial airlines, cruise ships or inter-provincial trains will require provide proof of full vaccination before boarding.
"For the vast, vast majority of people, the rules are very simple — to travel, you've got to be vaccinated," Trudeau said. "If you haven't gotten your shots yet, but want to travel this winter, let me be clear, there will only be a few extremely narrow exceptions, like a valid medical condition."
In other words, an unvaccinated person wishing to travel from Halifax to Vancouver will now need to make this journey by car.
Beyond the travel industry, today's announcement also covers virtually all federal employees, including the RCMP and military, as well as many working in federally-regulated industries including airlines and railways, and includes anyone working in an airport, rail station or marine terminal, from pilots and gate agents all the way to cleaners and cafeteria staff.
Responsibility for establishing "processes to verify vaccine status" will lie with air, rail and marine operators, a government official said Wednesday, with the expectation that these operators will accept provincial vaccine passports as proof of status. While there has been much discussion of a federal vaccine passport, likely built around the existing ArriveCAN app-based framework, no timeframe has been announced thus far.
While the Trudeau government announced in August that they planned to enact this requirement, it's interesting to note that today's announcement comes just 24 days before the new regulations will go into effect. According to Wednesday's media backgrounder:
"For travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, but that transition period will end on November 30."
Canada's airlines have so far publicly supported the vaccination requirement, with Air Canada further reiterating their calls to remove pre-departure testing requirements for fully-vaccinated passengers.
We'll be following this story as it unfolds.