Air travellers in B.C. experience little turbulence with new vaccine requirement rules

·2 min read
Travellers at YVR in Vancouver on Oct. 30, 2021 had to show proof of double COVID-19 vaccination before travelling. (CBC News - image credit)
Travellers at YVR in Vancouver on Oct. 30, 2021 had to show proof of double COVID-19 vaccination before travelling. (CBC News - image credit)

Air travellers at Vancouver's YVR airport expressed few concerns as new rules around travel and vaccination in Canada went into force on Saturday.

All travellers in Canada aged 12 and older must now be fully vaccinated before boarding planes, trains or cruise ships in this country.

Fully vaccinated travellers also need to show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test upon returning to Canada.

Travellers arriving and departing from Vancouver's International Airport said, for the most part, their vaccine cards were checked and that they did not have a problem with the new requirements.

Watch travellers at Vancouver's YVR airports talk about their experience with new vaccine requirements for travel in Canada:

At YVR, airport officials said travellers may experience delays at some Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) checkpoints, but otherwise the implementation of the new requirement was running smoothly.

"The reality is temperature screening was in there for the past year, and it's been removed. So [vaccine status checks] are essentially taking it's place," said Robyn McVicker who is vice president of passenger journey with the airport.

British Columbia residents can now access the federal government's proof-of-vaccination record allowing for travel within Canada and internationally.

The provincial government says residents can now access the federal COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination card in the same way 3.7 million people downloaded their card for non-essential activities within the province.

However, the province says the federal government has indicated it will allow British Columbians to use the BC Vaccine Card to travel within the country until Nov. 30, while national proof of vaccination is implemented.

If travellers have started the vaccination process but have not yet completed it, they can show proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test until Nov. 29. As of Nov. 30, the unvaccinated will not be eligible to travel, except for limited exemptions.

CBC News
CBC News

Carry copies

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland says he expects most countries will accept the federal government's proof-of-vaccination record but that travellers should carry multiple copies.

"What you don't want is to be stranded in a third country not because you lost your passport, but because you don't have your vaccine information," he said.

Kurland says he would like the federal government to commit to an end date for the proof-of-vaccination requirement because it's the first time in Canadian history that so many Canadians are allowing their medical data to be accessible to Ottawa with little oversight.

"I'd really like to see a sunset clause," said Kurland. "If it's temporary, great. If it's a fixture of future Canadian society ... not good."

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