TORONTO (AFP): Canada’s Covid-19 vaccination requirement for domestic travelers will be suspended starting next week, officials said Tuesday.
“I’m pleased to announce that on June 20 our government will suspend the requirement to be vaccinated in order to board a plane or train in Canada,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told a news conference.
He cited a relatively high rate of inoculations and a falling number of Covid cases across the country. The move also comes as most other pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc added that this will not, however, immediately ease a logjam at Canadian airports.
That problem, along with delays in the issuing of passports, sparked a public outcry in recent weeks, as more and more Canadians seek to take trips after more than two years of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.
The mandatory vaccine policy for travelers was rolled out last October, and Alghabra warned it could be reimposed in the fall if Covid-19 cases jump back up.
“Our government will always continue to evaluate measures and will not hesitate to make additional adjustments based on the latest public health advice and science,” he said.
Travelers entering Canada, meanwhile, must continue to show proof of vaccination. Those departing the country will also be subjected to vaccine mandates in other countries.
Alghabra noted that the United States, a popular destination for Canadians, still requires proof of vaccination for those arriving from abroad.
More than 82 percent of Canadians 12 and older have received two Covid vaccine doses, while about half have also received a booster, according to the Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker website.