Federal government to require vaccinations for all federal public servants, air and train passengers

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced today that the federal government will soon require that all public servants be vaccinated — a mandate that he said will also be implemented by Crown corporations and other federally regulated businesses in the coming weeks.

While Canada’s vaccination rate is among the highest in the world — 81 per cent of all eligible Canadians have had at least one dose — Alghabra said the country “must do better.”

“We need to reach as many Canadians as we possibly can,” he said.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra: “Vaccine requirements … will hasten Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

This is not a recommendation. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said that all public servants and employees in federally regulated sectors must comply with the vaccine mandate or risk losing their jobs.

“This is a mandatory requirement to go to work in a federal workplace or work in the government of Canada,” he said.

“Obviously, there will be certain individuals for medical reasons that will not be able to be vaccinated and the appropriate officials will work with them to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place.”

Beyond the mandatory vaccination requirement for federal employees, Alghabra said, a similar mandate will be extended to “certain travellers.”

Starting soon, all commercial air travellers and passengers on interprovincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight accommodations (such as cruise ships) will have to be vaccinated, Alghabra said. He said accommodations will be made for “those few who are unable to be vaccinated,” such as testing and screening.

“Vaccine requirements in the transportation sector will help protect the safety of employees, their families, passengers, their communities and all Canadians. And more broadly, it will hasten Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Asked when these measures would take effect, Alghabra said the government is developing “a measured and practical approach to requiring vaccines in these sectors as quickly as possible.”

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