Vaccinations now required to travel into and through Canada on planes, trains and boats

CALGARY –

All Canadians aged 12 and older now need to show proof of vaccination if you want to hop on a flight or train ride to any other Canadian destination.

The new rules that took effect Tuesday, follow a one month grace period where negative molecular COVID-19 tests were allowed to board trains, planes and cruise ships. Now all travellers must be fully vaccinated.

Airlines West Jet and Air Canada say they have resources in place to check proof of vaccination. Attendants were spotted scanning barcodes Tuesday at Calgary International Airport.

“Customers can submit their proof of vaccination online ahead of travel,” read a statement from Air Canada.

“They have the option to do this either through the Manage My Booking tab up to 72 hours prior to travel or when they check-in online and obtain a boarding pass within 24 hours of their flight. We strongly encourage customers to use our online tools to save time at the airport and to make the airport experience more streamlined.”

Air Canada says its self-serve kiosks at the airport are unable to accommodate proof of vaccine documents at this time.

Each boarding pass will have a code that reflects an approved traveller, meaning their ticket will not need to be checked again.

Travellers at Calgary airport, Nov. 30, 2021

SAFE AND SECURE

For West Jet and Swoop Airlines, staff have been working on safe and secure technology to approve travellers at the gates.

“The introduction of a self-service solution ensures we can accurately and effectively validate 100 per cent of guests’ vaccination status,” explained Stuart McDonald, WestJet’s interim Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer.

“Initially our agents had been manually validating vaccination status at various stages throughout the travel journey. We now have a Canada-wide technology solution that prioritizes guest privacy and ease of travel.” 

WestJet says its automated technology will scan all provincial and territorial QR code’s, which contains each guest’s proof of vaccination.

These automated scans are available via the WestJet App, digital check in and at airport kiosks as of November 30.

“By automating the process through scans, our agents can focus on the higher touch aspects of assisting guests,” said McDonald.

A FEW HICCUPS

Gregory Cann and his wife were in Calgary for a wedding. Their flight home to Vancouver on Tuesday had a few hiccups, when one of them was able to approve their vaccine status online, while the other could not.

Cann says Ottawa did not streamline the process very easily.

“It’s taken awhile to get their act together but still for the public it’s just an exercise in frustration as it feels like we’re the ones that have to sort through how the hell to pull this altogether,” said Cann.

The Government of Canada says in order to board, all travellers must have received their second dose at least 14 days before their departure date.

The rules apply to anyone who is travelling by plane on domestic, trans border or international flights departing from Canadian airports, and rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

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