Canada Lifts Jabbing Requirements for Travel and Federal Employees
Cabinet ministers announced on Tuesday that the federal COVID-19 jabbing mandates that prevent unjabbed Canadians from flying or working in the public sector are being suspended.
Jabbing requirements for domestic and international travel, as well as federally regulated transportation workers, will be suspended beginning June 20. Passengers and employees are still required to wear masks.
International visitors to Canada must still be jabbed with the COVID pharmaceutical product.
Jabbing mandates for the public sector, the RMCP, and federally regulated industries will also be lifted on June 20.
The federal government announced that public employees who were on unpaid leave as a result of the vaccination policy will be able to return to work.
"In no way do we regret acting cautiously," Leblanc said at a press conference, cautioning that lifting the mandates would not immediately reduce airport delays.
Leblanc also stated that his government is prepared to reinstate the mandates if the COVID-19 situation "deteriorates."
Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, stated that the mandates would be maintained for cruise ship crews and passengers. He stated that the measure is necessary because people are in the same place for long periods of time.
The mandates were lifted, according to Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, "after reviewing the most recent scientific evidence, evolving COVID-19 epidemiology globally and in Canada, vaccination coverage rates, and listening to the advice of public health officials and experts."
When asked why vaccine mandates were only being removed now, despite evidence suggesting the vaccines were ineffective in preventing infection months ago, Duclos defended the timing.
"Until now, we've been very successful," he said, adding that chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and other experts have recommended a shift away from mandates.
"We're transitioning because we want to keep being successful," Duclos explained.
The health minister also stated that there would be a push in the coming months to increase booster uptake with the help of the provinces.
The suspension of the mandates comes amid increasing pressure from various sectors in recent weeks to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
The tourism and travel industries have asked the government several times to lift travel restrictions, as airport bottlenecks have caused major delays.
Conservatives and a few dissenting Liberal MPs have also said that the COVID-19 mandates should be repealed.
Conservatives introduced motions to repeal vaccine mandates, but they were defeated in the House of Commons.
"We have not been able to find anyone who has told the government to keep the legacy health restrictions and the assault on mobility rights in place," Conservative MP and transport critic Melissa Lantsman said in the House on May 19, as she introduced a motion to repeal the mandates.
"That leads us on this side of the House to believe that there is no evidence, no metrics, and no good reason, other than the ideological drive to punish those who oppose the government."
On Twitter, Lantsman responded to the announcement.
“Finally. Mandate suspension is not the same as mandate elimination. Some jabbing mandates are not the same as all vaccine mandates. We have seen NO science to justify any mandates. "None," she stated.
During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberals promised to impose mandates, which they did shortly after winning a second minority government in the Sept. 20 election.
Since October 30, 2021, mandates have been applied to aeroplanes, trains, and some marine vessels. Jabbing mandates were also imposed on federally regulated workplaces and the public sector.