(CNN) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced a national COVID-19 vaccination mandate for rail and air travelers as well as staff.
“Today, we are meeting two of our main commitments – mandatory vaccination for federal employees and mandatory vaccination for travel,” Trudeau said.
Canada will also have a vaccination mandate in place for federally regulated workers by the end of the month, according to Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Trudeau said that by the end of October, all travelers aged 12 or older on a plane or train in Canada must be fully immunized. Trudeau said there would be a short grace period during which unvaccinated travelers or staff “could provide a negative COVID-19 test.”
“By the end of November, if you’re 12 or older and want to catch a plane or train, you’ll need to be fully immunized,” Trudeau said, noting that “testing will no longer be an option until board a train or flight “in Canada.
Trudeau said there would be “extremely narrow exceptions, such as a valid medical condition.”
“These travel measures, along with the compulsory vaccination for federal employees, are among the strongest in the world,” said the Prime Minister.
“It’s about ensuring the safety of people at work and in their communities,” he added. “Because when it comes to keeping you and your family safe, when it comes to avoiding blockages for everyone, this is not the time for half measures. “
All “federal employees in the core public administration must be fully immunized” by Oct. 29, according to Freeland.
“Members of the public service who are not fully immunized or who do not disclose their immunization status by October 29 will be placed on administrative leave without pay as of November 15,” Freeland said.
The mandate will apply to several government entities, including “Correctional Services Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and many other offices and agencies,” according to Freeland.
Meanwhile, said Freeland, defense officials “will issue a directive mandating vaccination for the Canadian Armed Forces, and we are working with employers in federally regulated workplaces.”
“We want to make sure the Government of Canada leads by example and establishes an immunization policy that protects everyone’s safety,” Freeland said.
“We also know that parts of Canada are now facing a very difficult fourth wave of the virus and some sectors of the economy continue to struggle,” Freeland said.
About 89% of eligible Canadians have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 82% of eligible Canadians are fully immunized, according to Freeland.
“The vast majority of Canadians came together and did the right thing,” she said.
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