Canada’s top government leaders have announced a series of sweeping vaccine mandates, making good on a series of election promises.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland kicked off Wednesday’s (Oct. 6) press conference with a vaccine mandate for all 267,000 federal public servants. The mandate includes all departmental staff, as well as the RCMP, Correctional Services of Canada staff and the Canada Border Services Agency, and will come into effect on Oct. 29. Freeland said that staff who do not declare their vaccination status will be put on unpaid administrative leave as of Nov. 15.
“This is about the majority doing the right thing and it is about government taking action on behalf of that majority… to be sure that a minority of people cannot sabotage Canada’s economic recovery and cannot allow the fourth wave, or other variants to cause real problems for us all,” Freeland said.
Freeland added that a similar vaccine mandate will be coming for the Canadian Armed Forces and that the government will direct federal Crown agencies to mirror the public service mandate.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a vaccine mandate for all plane and train travel within Canada, with only a “few extremely narrow exemptions.” The mandate will take effect on Oct. 30 and does not apply to children under the age of 12, who are not currently eligible to be vaccinated.
Trdueau said that there will be “severe consequences” for anyone caught lying about their vaccination status.
According to a government press release, the travel mandate will apply to all air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada; rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains; and marine passenger on non-essential passengers vessels on voyages of 24 hours or longer.
Travellers who have begun the process of getting vaccinated will be allowed to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel until Nov. 30.