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October 6, 2021 – Federal government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mandatory vaccination for federal employees and travellers

 Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance, announced two new vaccination policies.

Federal public servants, including those in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Armed Forces, must be fully vaccinated by October 29 or they will be placed on unpaid leave as of November 15.

They will confirm their immunization status via an online platform that will serve as a database for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Exemptions will be granted for medical contraindications or religious reasons. However, employees who are exempted will be required to undergo twice-weekly rapid testing in order to be able to go to work. Unvaccinated civil servants without an exemption will be placed on administrative leave until their vaccination status changes or the policy is no longer in effect.

“To travel, you’ve got to be vaccinated!”

Effective October 30, all passengers 12 years of age and older must be adequately vaccinated to board a plane, a VIA Rail train or a cruise ship.

A one-month grace period until November 30 will allow travellers to provide a negative molecular test result to serve as a pass.

“If you haven’t gotten your shots yet but want to travel this winter, there will only be a few extremely narrow exemptions like a valid medical condition,” Mr. Trudeau said. “For the vast, vast majority of people, the rules are very simple: to travel, you’ve got to be vaccinated. Simply having a personal conviction that vaccines are bad will not be nearly enough to qualify for an exemption.”

The measures introduced today will be reviewed every six months.

It is worth noting that 82% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated and 89% have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.