Starting Saturday, all Canadians must prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling in Canada by plane, train or ship.
This also applies to anyone travelling trans-border or internationally.
Before being able to board planes at airports, passengers aged 12 and over must have received their second dose at least 14 days before their departure.
“It will be the airlines’ responsibility to ensure that you are fully vaccinated, according to the Health Canada guidelines,” said Robyn McVickers, the vice president of Passenger Journey at the Vancouver International Airport. “The CATSA will also be checking passengers as they go through screening on a random basis,” she added.
However, the government is implementing a “transition period” that lasts until Nov. 29. Those who have not yet received their vaccine will have the option to show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test, taken within 72 hours of travel.
Beginning Nov. 30, a molecular test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to proof of having had your shots.
“Travellers should have their proof of vaccination ready to present and it could happen at any point along their journey,” said Rod Hunchak, director of business development and community relations with Victoria International Airport.
Health experts say this should make travel safer since people that are fully vaccinated have a much lower risk of both getting COVID-19 and also transmitting it.
“It means that the risk they are at sitting next to somebody who is actually having an active infection right now and could transmit the disease is dramatically reduced,” says Dr. Peter Juni, an epidemiology professor at the University of Toronto.
As with the B.C. Vaccine Card, the new federal proof of vaccination can be accessed through the Health Gateway, the Ministry of Health’s web service, by phone or in person at most Service BC offices.
“The federal government is launching a proof of vaccinations card to ensure that people who want to travel have what they need to do so,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
All other rules and regulations implemented earlier in the pandemic for travellers, including mandatory masks and negative test requirements for international travellers remain in place.
For further information on travel requirements, visit here.