Canada Mandates Vaccinations For Airline Workers, Passengers


Anyone flying commercially in Canada and all the people who make that possible must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of October. Canada’s federal government announced a sweeping vaccine mandate plan on Friday that includes all government employees, all workers in federally regulated industries and all passengers of those industries that include air carriers as well as interprovincial trains and cruise ships. That means that all pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other air carrier employees and all the people they serve must be fully vaccinated. The country is also developing a vaccine passport. Canada is one of the world leaders in overall vaccination rates and the mandate is the next step in its COVID-19 plan, the government said in a flurry of press statements on Friday.

There are plenty of details to follow, including how the mandate will affect foreign carriers and the international and connecting flights of domestic airlines. In general, however, Canada’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, are in favor of the plan. Air Canada said it needs more detail but “it is a welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers, and all Canadians.” WestJet said it, too, likes the idea but would like an alternative such as a rapid antigen test available for unvaccinated travelers.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Interesting. The unintended consequences will be interesting to see develop both the good and bad. I hope this happens in the US. Air travel is not only a right, it is also a privilege. It would be nice to see the “privilege” side of the equation weighted the same as the “it’s my right” side.

    • It is illegal in the USA for both the government and private business to force you to divulge your private medical history. It’s also illegal to discriminate based on your medical history.

      I assume Canada has no protections?

    • Stu,

      While it would seem your position would be in support of Canada’s decision I’d like to comment that Air Travel is not a *Right*. You cannot find, in the Constitution an amendment, clause, Article, or even subsection that states travel by air is a Right. It is privilege, I can agree, and it is one provided by private businesses. Those businesses can deny your access to their airplanes for many reasons outside the core rights established by discrimination, but having a virus is not on that list.

      the funny thing is that I won’t really argue against YAR, or Mike, or the other commenters that have this rather misinformed view of vaccines and/or of COVID. As another pointed out, one would hope pilots would do due diligence when dealing with life situations, but then I read the accident reports, listen to VASIAIR posts on Youtube and realize they don’t as a general rule. So, those folks can have their freedom to not get vaccinated. Works for me.

      However, I don’t feel you have a freedom to spread that vaccine to me. Your freedom to get infected does not include a right or freedom to infect others since you have no clue if whom you infect may get a mild case or die from you freely infecting them. Don’t want to wear a mask, you don’t get to fly on a plane and now in Canada, don’t want to get vaccinated, then feel free to exercise your freedom to drive to your destinations. Please note that Canada stated “Commercial”, not GA so if you have a plane, what’s your problem?

      What is really wrong are those that try to compare a vaccine passport to somebody’s religion being label over 80 years ago. There is no comparison. What Hitler did was from the mind of a sick sociopath bent on killing people over religion (and race). What is happening today are government’s trying to stop the spread and killing of citizens from a virus that kills, that has killed over 700,000 in this country alone. It is sick to make such a comparison.

      I would hope our government, at the very least, require the FAA and who oversees Trains, and buses to require proof of vaccine to move around this country. Again, no one is stopping any freedom to travel, just the type of vehicle. Funny thing, the former President would have no issue with such a restriction, so if it is good enough for the Former President, why is it bad for others?

      • The last paragraph is the problem. Any restrictions to travel within the US is a violation of several constitutional amendments. Some of those were passed after the US civil war to prevent states from restricting movement of the then newly freed slaves to the northern states. Medical science in the 1780’s when the Constitution was written is not anywhere near what it is today. It makes our founding members who actually wrote the Constitution look like geniuses, not allowing the federal government to enact more controls using emergency declarations as a disguise, things other governments have done throughout history.

      • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

        I submit my right to fly is supported by this statement.

      • So you say someone who doesn’t get the vaccine has no right to spread it to you. Do you understand what a vaccine is? If you get vaccinated, why would you care. I had Covid a year ago last March just when this was starting to become a big thing. I have antibodies in my immune system, been around many people and events including Oshkosh and have not had so much of as a sniffle in nearly a year and a half. Why do I need injected with experimental poison, that literally thousands of people have died from? As for masks, in the beginning the CDC was stating they do very little to stop the spread of the virus, until the politician’s got involved and told them what they had to say. If you aren’t wearing an M95 or surgical masks, your cotton face diapers are nearly worthless. I saw pictures of Obama’s birthday bash, funny thing, no masks even though they were mandated where he lives for indoor gatherings. So while the politicians push the panic porn of how deadly this virus is, which has a survival rate of 99.8% if you contract it, and a higher rate if you are not elderly with morbidity conditions, the death rate is much like the seasonal flu. Should we start wearing masks for that also, how about demanding vaccinations for the flu, how about pneumonia also, it kills by the 10s of thousands every year also. This is about control, do as we say, or we will punish you. Funny how they throw actual “science” out the window when it doesn’t serve their agenda.

        • First, you should care because no vaccine is 100%. Second, the more a virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate into a form that erodes a large chunk of the protection that the existing vaccines do provide. And third, vaccine (and “natural”) antibodies wear off over time, particularly as the virus evolves.

        • @ Mike Copp August 16, 2021
          Much foolish hyperbola and several untrue statements here. The following are just two of the outright lies:
          “.experimental poison, that literally thousands of people have died from?” Complete nonsense. There have not been fatal results recorded from the vaccines used in the U.S. None. Zero.

          “…the death rate is much like the seasonal flu.” The seasonal flu outbreaks we experience have never produced over 600,000 deaths in less than two years. Covid19 has. The new surge in deaths could have been prevented if more people had taken advantage of the vaccines available.

  2. Yay! This is a huge step towards communism in Canada, congrats! Americans better think and act, they have already come for our guns, now it’s our health with an experimental “vaccine” that does not prevent getting or spreading the virus. Pure nonsense, how would I be a problem for anyone else if I’m not vaccinated? This clearly has nothing to do with a virus and everything to do with removing our rights and freedoms. If you doubt that, stop and think for yourself. The swine flu, H1N1, bird flu and others were all the same virus, it was our reaction that was way overblown. Hitler would be proud, as he always said it’s lucky for the government the people they govern don’t think. Wake up now, or prepared to be asked for your “papers” at every corner. Then the real restrictions start.

        • The mRNA vaccines (like the Moderna and Pfizer ones) aren’t “gene therapy” (they aren’t altering anyone’s genes), but they are a class of vaccines that haven’t been in widespread use until recently. If you have concerns over that type of vaccine, the J&J is a more “traditional” type of vaccine and is also generally widely available.

    • You can call it whatever you like Mike. There’s more than one intention here and it’s primary reason is not concern for everyone’s health. It will separate, segregate and eliminate people and that is good. The outlying outcome will make everyone involved in flying happy.

  3. Pilots are forced to take an unapproved drug to fly? I thought you were not supposed to pilot an aircraft if you WERE taking unapproved drugs?

      • The FAA (a government agency) has APPROVED use of the vaccines.
        That’s a far stretch from a government agency REQUIRING their use.

  4. Is anyone in this space old enough to remember Prohibition?
    It was designed to address an alleged existential threat to society.
    Now, we are faced with its functional opposite – a law that REQUIRES you to ingest a substance, rather than prohibits ingestion of another.
    Of course, the law’s proponents assert that society faces another existential threat – a virus.
    One man’s existential threat is another man’s unalienable liberty.
    Irresistable force; immovable object.
    This gets more interesting – and more frightening – every day.
    Danger, Will Robinson.

    • I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. The province is already putting in plans for a “Vaccine Passport” which I would need to show in order to enter a grocery store, theater, gym, or just about anywhere. WTF… at least we have an election next Tuesday! Oh wait, both parties are for this “Passport” system. It won’t be long before they offer an alternative to carrying the passport… perhaps the number tattooed on our inside lower arm, of course accompanied by an RFID chip so they can scan us as we go through the doorways and deny entry to those with an immune system. Comply or become the fringe!

      • Totalitarian leaders make use of fear; they thrive on chaos and bewilderment; the strategy of fear is one of the most valuable tactics. Obey or you’ll lose your livelihood. 1984.

    • No YARS I’m not old enough to remember Prohibition but I am old enough to remember polio and small pox and to have participated in stamping them out by having been vaccinated. Those immunizations had zilch to do with totalitarian leaders, neither do Moderna, Pfizer and the others. I’m also well traveled enough to have had an international health card listing immunizations required by various countries, a document as well accepted by everyone in its time as a US passport. In fact the two documents were rarely shown one without the other in many countries. Danger, Will Robinson. Join society. Get yourself vaccinated.

      • You know what they say about assumptions, John.
        I, too, remember polio.
        And I got two shots of Pfizer in mid-March and in early April.
        I’m not anti-vax.
        But I do believe in liberty, however 20th-century that concept may be.

        • This is not a personal liberty issue just like stopping on red and going on green isn’t. It is a global public health imperative.

          • What’s funny is that people no longer have any sense of context; they say Trump is Hitler, unarmed yahoos at the Capitol is an insurrection, 0.09 degree temperature rise is cooking the earth and now “covid is polio”.

            That is exactly why sensible people have (justifiably) stopped listening to politicized topics and follow their personal experiences and their personal liberty.

      • If this virus is so dangerous and deadly, why is this corrupt administration allowing nearly 150,000 illegals from as many as 100 different countries, many infected with the virus, to flow across the border unimpeded? Then this morally bankrupt administration shotguns these infected people through the center of the country to towns, and cities where infections rise dramatically. Want to help curb the spike in Covid? Show they are serious about enforcing federal law and close the Southern border, and prevent an invading sick horde from making matters worse.

    • I’m old enough to remember polio epidemics, and I’m old enough to remember how mandatory vaccinations destroyed polio and saved untold thousands–probably millions by now–from its crippling effects. That vaccine was crude compared to these modern Covid19 vaccines. I applaud the Canadian government’s action, and I hope more government and private organizations in the U.S. will do the same

  5. Over 80 years ago a tyrant ordered a religious class of persons to wear indentifying symbols on their person so they would end up separated from the rest of that country’s population, almost wiping out the entire “class”. The amazing thing to me is that “religious class” (for lack of a better term) is now very quiet over this “vaccine passport” thing. Amazing how people either forget or just ignore history, only to repeat it again.

    Canada being an independent country can do wantever it wants, it is their citizens right. But enacting any “vaccine passport” in this country is just wrong on so many levels. Lots of legal scholars have said that almost all of the COVID restrictions are unconstitutional and would not stand up to any court challenge if they were actually brought to court. Sure airline travel is not a right but neither is any government requirement for “vaccine passports” for domestic travel constitutional. That violates several constitutional amendments dating back to the US civil war.

  6. The mRNA Covid vaccines prevent death and serious disease. The virus only replicates within humans. The more it replicates, i.e., evolves, the more it changes into more “successful” (for the virus anyway) variants, such as the Delta variant. The less it is able to replicate the less it will survive. Vaccines prevent that replication and are the way to end the pandemic. This is the way the polio vaccine, tetanus vaccine, and a lot of other vaccines work. Those vaccines have eradicated diseases that used to wreak death and destruction upon their victims. Reading the comments of persons who have survived Covid suggests that this virus produces symptoms ranging from annoying to truly awful including death by asphyxiation. Isn’t it a wise choice to prevent getting this disease? Or are some people really choosing to get sick and die?
    Beyond the health benefits there are the financial benefits to the vaccine. The cost of this pandemic has been gigantic. Businesses have closed, trade has been disrupted, growth has been stymied, and the hospital systems have been over burdened treating people who if they had taken the vaccine would never need the extremely expensive treatment in the first place. Treatment in an ICU is very very expensive. A shot isn’t.
    Does anyone here remember polio? Or any of the other diseases that used to terrify people because the outcomes were so terrible? And which have been eradicated because of vaccines.

    • “Isn’t it a wise choice to prevent getting this disease?”
      The key word in that sentence is CHOICE.
      I’ll adjust the gain on my irony sensors.

    • I’m with you Rick, conspiracy anti-vaxxers talk about gene therapy and eugenics like a bad thing. Look it up, there’s no publications showing negative long term (more then three years) effects from mRNA gene therapy. Many famous people have given very powerful lectures proving we can stop human caused climate change with eugenics. You anti-vaxxers need to watch more tax payer funded PBS/NPR for more non-bias facts. Why are people so paranoid?

      • Just in case any of the readership is in Rio Linda, pro-choice is not at all the same thing as “anti-vax.”

      • PBS/NPR, say it all, mostly left wing propaganda that never presents both sides of an argument. Had Covid nearly 18 months ago, and I am doing just fine with antibodies in my system far superior to that non FDA approve experiential juice. Can I use the “Obama Card” instead, you know, masks and vaccines for thee, but not for me and my birthday bash buddies, and oh don’t let pictures get out that we are thumbing our noses at the dirt eating rubes that we order to wear masks and get jabbed. Why would Obama do that if this is such a deadly death sentence of a disease?

    • Actually, the Covid vaccines are some of the notable types that do NOT prevent replication. You can still carry and spread it, you are just less likely to show symptoms (thus making you more likely to carry and spread it to vulnerable people).
      With that false assumption removed, your conclusion must change.

      Those who support government-forced medical procedures presumably aren’t well versed in history. It’s a really really bad idea.

    • mRNA vaccine technology has been around 30 years of more. The reason it has never advanced beyond the animal testing stage is the animals died after being exposed to the virus after they had been previously vaccinated. Yeah lets go ahead and force this EXPERIMENTAL vaccine on the world. Population control, personal freedoms eroded all in one mandate. I can hardly wait to see who gets to foot the bill for all the lawsuits resulting from being forced to have an experimental vaccine injected into one’s body and then dying from it. It won’t be big pharma nor will it be the government again it will pushed on to the American people to pay for these follies.

    • “Isn’t it a wise choice to prevent getting this disease? Or are some people really choosing to get sick and die?
      Beyond the health benefits there are the financial benefits to the vaccine.”

      Isn’t it also a wise choice to prevent unfit parents to have children? To abort or euthanize those who will or are, a drain upon society?

      Beyond the health benefits, there are the financial benefits to abortion and euthanasia. We could even give the process a fancy name: Lebensunwertes Leben

  7. Personally I am puzzled by pilots who are against COVID-19 vaccination. Safe flying involves managing risk because risk will never be eliminated.

    The main way pilots reduce risk is by using the available facts So if some guy on the internet said our C172 will fly 800 nm on 40 gals of gas, or take off in 300 feet, we are going to be sceptical evaluate that claim against what the POH says and our personal experience.

    Yet it seems like a significant part of the Pilot population does not seem willing to look at all of the information out there and evaluate it based on all the factual data is available. Instead they are seemingly focused on what one very small anti fax group are saying, take it as gospel and won’t look at any other data sources.

    I looked at what the health care professionals and the government agencies are saying as well as what counter arguments are also being presented. For me personally the data is overwhelmingly in favour of vaccination, I had no issue with getting the 2 shots.

    Finally the irony for me is the US was way ahead of the rest of the world with a Vaccine roll out because of operation Warp Speed. This was a President Trump initiative and the Liberal media told everyone it was an impossible time line, the vaccine would not work and it wasn’t going to be safe. They were proved spectacularly wrong yet Conservative right wing is now dumping on the vaccine their guy made possible. I just don’t get it.

    • You don’t “get it” because most all conservatives who are vulnerable have already been vaccinated! Any push back is NOT about vaccines, it’s because of this kind of endless political mission creep.

      • Please enlighten me regarding the what mission is creeping. I’m not being cynical. I really do wish to understand this. Thanks.

        • Rich, you forget it was first 2 weeks to not overwhelm hospitals, then it was to flatten the curve, then it was masks mandates, then it was to have a vaccine available, then you need a vaccination and masks and now a REQUIREMENT to have a vaccination and a masks or lose your job. THAT is mission creep.

          • It was “2 weeks to not overwhelm hospitals”, then the hospitals got overwhelmed. Then it was mask and social-distancing mandates, and suddenly cases started going down and infection rates dropped. Then the vaccines came out and rates dropped further. Then the restrictions were lifted and once again cases started going up and hospitals started to get overwhelmed again. Correlation is not causation, but there certainly is a strong correlation between social distancing and mask mandates and covid infections.

          • Your made up chronological stutter between the actions of science and government rapidly trying to act together to a novel virus not previously seen in humans that was becoming a very deadly and dangerous pandemic comes across shallow, uninformed and aggrieved.

            And you did not answer his question – what was the mission, who’s mission was it, and for what purpose?

            I already know your answer, but apparently Rich doesn’t, so let’s hear it.

    • You need to examine more sources regarding the endorsement of this vaccine by health professionals because there are probably just as many condemning it as there are endorsing it. I am assuming you still consider Anthony Fauci as a credible health official along with the CDC, both are politically motivated in their guidance regarding the virus

    • David Gagliardi Quote: “Yet it seems like a significant part of the Pilot population does not seem willing to look at all of the information out there and evaluate it based on all the factual data is available. Instead they are seemingly focused on what one very small anti fax group are saying, take it as gospel and won’t look at any other data sources.”

      Is this the “very small anti fax group” you speak of?

      Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, epidemiologist, Stanford University
      Dr. Sunetra Gupta, infectious disease epidemiologist, Oxford Univ.
      Dr. Martin Kulldorff, epidemiologist, Harvard
      Dr. Robert W. Malone, inventor of mRNA technology platform
      Dr. Peter A. McCullough, former Vice-Chair Int. Med., Baylor Univ.
      Dr. Didier Raoult, microbiologist and director, IHU Méditerranée Infection; Professor at Aix Marseille Université
      Dr. Harvey A. Risch, Prof. Epid., Yale School of Public Health
      Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, biometrician, 20-year head, biostatistics/epid., Rockefeller University
      Dr. Michael Yeadon, former VP of respiratory research, Pfizer.

      What do these media silenced folks know anyway?

  8. It violates international law against forcing people to be subjected to experimental drugs… but then again, do laws matter anymore?
    I guess only if it feels good.

  9. Air travel is not a right but a privilege.

    The ability to travel is a right.

    Private medical records are private and the government and private parties have no right to it but since we have no right to fly on an airliner I understand their viewpoint although I disagree with it.

    ALSO it is looking like the immunization is not very good. Last (Mayo Clinic) numbers I read were 76% for Moderna, 44% for Pfizer, (against delta) and less for J&J so vaccines may not be worth pushing on people any more either way.

    Also masks don’t help much either but they probably do something as at least flu cases are down.

    Bottom line is this will be the future. It’s wrong but inevitable as the country and the world shifts to the Left.

    I took the family to a winery for lunch after church yesterday and they wanted to see our vaccination cards to let us in.

    I HATED it but complied as I wanted to eat there and it is not my right to but they can call the shots on their own winery.

    I find it helpful to accept the country and the world have lost their way and give up hope in all leadership except God.

    • It is completely legal for private individuals and companies to ask for proof of vaccination. It is also completely legal for you to refuse to show proof. But it is then also completely legal for private individuals and companies to refuse you access to what they are offering.

      • And it is also legal to take your business or money elsewhere when people, stores, or transport want that info or require face coverings or other restrictions!

      • “It is completely legal for private individuals and companies to ask for proof of vaccination.”
        True enough. But try asking someone if they have proof of a negative test for HIV, and watch what happens.
        I think that getting vaccinated is a good idea. But I think that REQUIRING vaccinations is a road to tyranny.
        Apparently, that’s too much cognitive dissonance for some in this space.

  10. The Heck with popcorn,

    I’m gonna have 2 shots.

    Oh yeah, I already had my 2 covid shots back in the beginning and end of March and I feel great, not turning into a monkey or any of that nonsense either.

    So I guess I’ll just sit back and have 2 tequila shots now and keep on reading this subject for giggles.

  11. Seems with the media focussed on one subject or another,with a very disciplined focus,about 70 percent of the human population comes under the sway of their music.Whether it was Stalin with his communist party,Hitler with his national socialists and his man Goebbels in charge of the media,or Jimmy Jones with his loud speakers,they were all able to secure a majority of the human population for their cause.
    There are people who believe the goverment should be large and powerfull,thankfully there are people and politicians who believe their country should be strong and free.