Government consulting with remote Indigenous communities about mandatory vaccines

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The federal government is working on exemptions to its newly released mandatory vaccine policy for people in remote Indigenous communities, many of which are only accessible by airplane.

The new policy calls for travellers over the age of 12 to provide proof they've received two doses of a Health Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days before boarding a plane or train.

There are 182 communities that have been assessed by Transport Canada or the provinces and territories as "remote."

The vast majority are so isolated the only way in and out is by plane, and essential services like medical visits are not accessible by any other means of transportation.

Accommodations could include asking for a negative molecular COVID-19 test, rather than proof of full vaccination, according to a statement from the office of federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Government officials are meeting with Indigenous organizations and representatives from provincial and territorial governments to come up with a solution before the new policy comes into effect at the end of the month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2021.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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