The government will require mandatory vaccination for any flight departing from a Canadian airport (if it really goes ahead as promised; making Canada one of the only countries in the world—possibly the only one even—to ban the unvaccinated from leaving). But from October 30 to November 29, there will be a grace period that allows for a PCR test instead of vaccination.
Some people were worried that the test alone wouldn’t be enough, so Flytrippers checked with Transport Canada.
Cause of confusion
As we told you in our post about Canada’s new travel requirement, it was clear from the beginning that the vaccination requirement would apply to any flight departing from a Canadian airport.
That’s what we told you since day 1. But many thought it would only apply to domestic flights, although I’m not quite sure why. Not so surprising, almost nobody really understands travel rules, unfortunately.
Yet for once (which is rare with this government), this requirement was very clear from the beginning. They always said it would be for all flights.
(Is it really going to be that way on the 30th? That’s a whole other topic…)
But last week, when they announced the start date for this measure, they announced something new that had never been mentioned: A one-month grace period.
What they announced in the press conference was very clear: For one month, instead of being vaccinated, it would be possible to fly by simply showing proof of a 72-hour negative PCR test.
But when the official government website was updated, there was this turn of phrase (emphasis is mine):
For travellers who are in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel.
This has caused confusion for some of our readers, even though there was never any mention of having to prove anything about vaccination being in process.
Here is what Flytrippers wrote about that:
We interpret that sentence’s wording more as yet another form of political marketing: The government probably want to appear to be giving an exemption only to the “good guys” who are in the process of getting vaccinated and not to the “bad guys” who are not the process of getting vaccinated.
Punishing the unvaccinated wins many political points these days, almost as much as punishing travelers did for most of the pandemic. So being tough on the unvaccinated who want to travel? That’s a double-whammy of political points to score, a real no-brainer for politicians!
Transport Canada’s response
Since many were concerned, Flytrippers reached out to Transport Canada’s media relations department to double-check.
They quickly and kindly responded and confirmed that indeed, the test is all that will be required to take advantage of the exemption during the grace period.
They rephrased the sentence (that’s what should have been on the government website, but it wouldn’t have scary enough for the unvaccinated I guess):
All travellers are encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible as they must be vaccinated to travel as of November 30. To allow travellers to become fully vaccinated by that date, there will be a short transition period starting October 30 where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel as an alternative to providing proof of full vaccination. That transition period will end on November 30. If you have not already started the vaccination process, or do not start soon, travellers risk not qualifying for travel as of November 30.
In short, it’s simple: You can fly with a test up to and including November 29.
Starting November 30, if the government really goes ahead with this, you could be stuck in Canada for a long time.
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Nothing at all is required to board a plane until October 30 (same as since day 1) and those who are not vaccinated will be allowed to fly until November 29 with a 72-hour PCR test.
What do you want to know about this rule? Tell us in the comments below.
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