From today, unvaccinated travellers above the age of 12 will be unable to board an aircraft or train in Canada, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer suffice for the majority of people.
The restriction went into force on Oct. 30, but the federal government granted a 72-hour grace period for unvaccinated travellers who produced a negative molecular COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of their journey.
As Canada responds to the development of the new, highly evolved Omicron strain of COVID-19, the additional strict requirement goes into force. Fears that the new strain could be highly infectious have triggered border restrictions and increased screening in Canada and overseas as a result of its detection.
According to the World Health Organization, the risk associated with the Omicron strain is highly significant, although many public health officials and scientists are unaware of it.
Except for persons who have recently travelled via southern Africa, who must be vaccinated before entering Canada or boarding a flight or train within the country, there are presently no quarantine restrictions in place.
Whereas many airlines have conducted random spot checks to ensure that passengers are immunized, Air Canada and West Jet have announced that from today, they will require proof of vaccination from anyone boarding in Canada.
Other procedures, such as masks and health screenings, will continue to exist. The government has raised an alert on social media for even Canadians and permanent residents living overseas that they will not be permitted to come home without a full set of approved vaccinations.
Valid medical exemptions, travel to distant regions only accessible by flight, and travelling through Canada en route to another destination are all exceptions.