Canadian airports call for removal of Trudeau's vaccine requirements for air passengers

The Canadian Airports Council on Tuesday called for the removal of "all vaccine requirements for air passengers and aviation employees."

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

The Canadian Airports Council on Tuesday called for the removal of "all vaccine requirements for air passengers and aviation employees."

"The aviation community has been a supportive partner of the federal government, in facilitating the vaccine mandate for travel since November 2021," they wrote. "However, today all Canadian provinces have removed vaccine restrictions, so there is now a different standard for aviation employees and transportation than for other Canadians.

"Aviation is global. In order to support this industry's economic recovery and compete globally, Canada must align with the international community and join the list of over 50 countries that have already removed vaccine mandates and COVID protocols for travel."

The Trudeau Liberals' vaccine passport system has been in place for domestic travelers since October of last year, and remains in place despite growing calls for its removal.

Figures from the Conservative Party have called for the system's removal for some time and have been especially forward in doing so over the past few months. Leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre applauded the statement made by Canada's airports on Tuesday, tweeting: "Canada's airports echoing the same message they're hearing from Canadians who are frustrated by their awful travel experiences. Get rid of the mandates. All of them. Stop the COVID theatre."

Shadow minister of travel Melissa Lantsman told The Toronto Sun recently that she has gotten no answers from Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra, saying "The minister for transport can’t tell Canadians why the government is keeping travel restrictions in place. The experts have told us directly that to fix the backlogs we need to end the restrictions. What did they tell him? They won’t tell us."

Alghabra appeared on CBCs Power & Politics last week where he was asked by host Vassy Kapelos to explain Canada's domestic vaccine passport system.

Canada's vaccine mandate, as the CBC explains, "took effect in November 2021 to boost vaccination rates" and "prevents unvaccinated Canadians from boarding a commercial plane or train in Canada to both domestic and international destinations."

Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith has even come out and said that, while he did not support the motion to revert to pre-pandemic travel measures put forward by the Conservatives last week, he believes that the government's two-dose vaccine mandate "without accommodation is no longer justified."

"We first debated these questions at the end of February. At that time, Dr. Tam had indicated that a review of mandates was warranted. As I noted in my reasons then, an immediate and transparent re-evaluation should have taken place at that time," he said, but added that the re-evaluation of travel measures has not been transparent.

"Nothing about the re-evaluation of travel-related measures has been transparent. It is not clear what Dr. Tam’s recommendations are, and there’s been no adequate justification provided for continuing the exclusive two-dose mandate," he wrote

Erskine-Smith wrote that mandates were put into place to increase vaccination rates and reduce risk of transmission, but that the Liberal government's mandate has exhausted its usefulness," he tweeted.

The vaccine mandate system has caused problems within Canada's airports, as well. Recently, lineups at Toronto's Pearson Airport have lasted for hours.


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