As of November 30, a transition period allowing PCR tests as a substitute ended.
Starting November 30, unvaccinated travellers 12 and older won't be allowed to board a plane or get on a VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada. It's no longer possible to offer a negative PCR test as a substitute for being vaccinated.
The change was first announced in early October by Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. It established October 30 as the date by which the government would require all travellers departing from airports in Canada or taking a federally regulated train to be fully vaccinated.
However, the government permitted a short transition period from October 30 to November 29 in order to give travellers time to get vaccinated. During that time, unvaccinated travellers were able to provide a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours before their trip.
But now that the grace period is over, travellers now need to be fully vaccinated, "with very limited exceptions."
The Government of Canada's website is clear about consequences for ignoring the updated rules: "If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you're eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines."
Some exemptions do apply for those who are travelling from remote communities or for a medical emergency, or for someone transiting through Canada on their way to another country. But even in the case of most exemptions, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the trip is still required.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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