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Here's Where Federal Leaders Stand On Making Vaccines Mandatory In Canada

"Unless people have a medical exception, they will not able to board a plane or a train in Canada if they are unvaccinated," Justin Trudeau said.

Mandatory Vaccines In Canada: Here's Where Federal Leaders Stand

When it comes to having mandatory vaccines in Canada for COVID-19, not all of the major federal party leaders agree on what should be required for Canadians.

After a snap election was called for September 20, politicians vying for votes on the campaign trail have addressed the question of whether or not vaccines should be required across the country.

Here is where Justin Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh, Erin O'Toole and Annamie Paul stand on mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party

Justin Trudeau's government announced on August 13 that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for federal workers, including employees in the federal public service and federally regulated air, rail and marine transport industries. The mandate is set to come into effect this fall and no later than the end of October.

His government also said that it will require vaccinations for all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations like cruise ships.

There will be accommodations for people who are not able to get vaccinated, like testing and screening.

"If anyone who doesn't have a legitimate medical reason for not getting fully vaccinated chooses to not get vaccinated, there will be consequences," Trudeau said on August 17.

A day later, he said that people won't be able to board a plane or train in Canada if they're unvaccinated and don't have a medical exception.

Jagmeet Singh, NDP

During the election campaign, Jagmeet Singh said that the deadline for federal workers to get fully vaccinated should be set for September 6. He also mentioned that employees who refuse to get vaccinated could be disciplined.

"To get as many people vaccinated as possible, we need to back up the commitment with actions. We will work with public sector unions to provide more education, remove barriers and give workers ample opportunity to get a vaccine," he said in a statement on August 17.

If someone refuses to get vaccinated without having a medical reason for not doing so, Singh said that he expects the worker's collective agreement, which has a process for discipline including termination, would be followed.

"Discipline should always be a last resort, but may be necessary in rare cases to protect the health and safety of Canadians," Singh said.

Erin O'Toole, Conservative Party

In a statement released on August 15, Erin O'Toole said that if his Conservative Party party is elected, people won't be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Instead, regular rapid testing would be put in place of a vaccine mandate.

Rather than making federal workers and travellers get vaccinated, O'Toole's government would require them to have a negative result from a rapid test before going into work or boarding a plane, train or ship.

Annamie Paul, Green Party

Annamie Paul has called for Trudeau's Liberals to provide information on how people with legitimate reasons for not getting vaccinated will be accommodated but did not mention whether or not her party would mandate vaccinations if elected.

"We know that there are people who are unable to get vaccinated for legitimate reasons, whether those be medical conditions, religious or cultural convictions, or that live in rural communities with limited access to either vaccination clinics or information that addresses their concerns," she said in a statement on August 18.

"There are whole communities of people in Canada with historical experiences of very painful and damaging interactions with the healthcare system, many of whom are still dealing with the legacies of that trauma. These are legitimate concerns, and we need to see a plan to address them that is focused on education and that explains why getting vaccinated is important and how it will help to protect them, their communities and the general public," Paul continued.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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