Can an Unvaccinated Person Board a Train or Plane?

Can an unvaccinated person board a train or plan in Canada? The quick answer is, generally “no”, but there are exceptions. Today’s post breaks down the current rules in place.

Fully Vaccinated

In terms of the general rule, to board a flight or train departing a Canadian airport or station, “anyone” who is 12 years of age plus 4 months, or older must be fully vaccinated with accepted vaccines (i.e. received second dose at least 15 calendar days prior to the travel day).

The vaccination requirement also includes domestic train or plane travel. The proof of vaccination can be shown by phone or paper copy.

Exemptions to the Vaccine Requirement

That being said, there are a host of exceptions in place.

The first exception are children under 12 years and 4 months of age for travel within or departing Canada.

Furthermore, there are other exceptions:

  • Travel from small or remote communities who need to obtain essential services for their medical, health or social well-being, and return safely to their homes
  • Travel for essential medical services and treatment
  • If the passenger is only transiting through Canada to reach another country as the final destination
  • Emergency and urgent travel (such as for urgent medical reasons or an evacuation due to fire or flood)
  • Other exceptional travel in the national interest handled on a case-by-case basis
  • Medical inability to be vaccinated
  • Sincere religious belief

As you can see, the above is a fairly long list of exception that covers those who are unvaccinated. So the rules are not quite as restrictive as one might think.

Proof of Negative Covid-19 Test

In addition, to qualifying for one of the exemptions mentioned above, there is also a testing requirement for unvaccinated travelers prior to departure, which include either:

  • provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result taken within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time OR
  • proof of a previous positive molecular test result taken between 15 and 180 days (starting January 15, 2022, between 11 to 180 days) before entering Canada

It is the responsibility of the passenger to book, pay for and get the results of the molecular test prior to boarding.

Fully vaccinated travellers do not have the departure testing requirement.

Arrival Destination and Planning Ahead

Keep in mind that the rules can also vary depending on the arrival destinations that needs to be factored in combination with the departure rules.

Note that rules are constantly changing, so it is best to stay up to date leading up and on the date of your planned travel. It goes the other way around too, just because you leave Canada with one set of rules, does not guarantee that it will be the same set of rules on your return. So we are at a state of “travel at your own risk”. There is always a chance that you may need to extend a trip abroad due to rule changes to adjust to the new rules.

Either way, we would love to hear your travel experiences in the comment section below! 

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