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COVID-19 Vaccines Will Become Mandatory For Some Canadians & Here’s What We Know So Far

Federal workers and people who want to travel via train, air or cruise ship will be impacted.👇

On August 13, the federal government announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will become mandatory for federal workers in Canada, as well as employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sector.

Officials confirmed the mandate would come into effect this fall, as early as the end of September, as part of a plan to "reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians and to protect broader public health."

Although exact details are yet to be revealed, here's everything we know so far about the government's plan to make COVID-19 vaccines compulsory for federal employees and travellers:

Federal Employees

By the fall, the Government of Canada intends to require COVID-19 vaccination "across the federal public service."

Almost half a million people work directly for the federal government, a Crown corporation, the military or the RCMP, according to Global News.

Nearly 1 million more work in federally regulated industries, like banks and airlines.

The feds say that as the country's largest employer, it wants to play a "leadership role by further protecting the health and safety of public servants and the communities where they live and work across Canada and around the world."

No later than the end of October, the government will also require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation industries to be vaccinated.

The feds also called on all organizations "beyond the federally regulated sector" to consider implementing their own vaccination strategies, based on guidance from Canadian public health authorities.

Travellers

On August 13, federal officials confirmed that many travellers will also be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Set to come into effect no later than October, this will include all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.

"Canadians deserve to feel confident when travelling, that the environment around them is safe," Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Friday.

Will there be exemptions?

When making the announcement, officials acknowledged that some people may be unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

For travellers, "accommodation or alternative measures, such as testing and screening, may be determined in each situation, to protect broader public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19."

What if people refuse to get vaccinated?

Omar Alghabra also acknowledged that some federal employees may refuse to get vaccinated without having a medical exemption. In response, he told reporters that these situations would be dealt with by the "appropriate public service managers" on a case-by-case basis.

He added that public service managers will "be in a position to deal with employees that decide not to respect the mandatory requirement."

Jennifer O'Connell, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, confirmed that those who can't get vaccinated for medical reasons will be accomodated.

"This is yet another step for those individuals who can't receive that vaccine to ensure they themselves are in a safe workplace [..]," she said.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.

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