Until now, airlines have expected compulsory vaccination for all passengers flying within the country. This measure will be effectively implemented as of October 30.
But the federal government is preparing to go even further.
As of this fall, no one will be able to leave Canada without being adequately vaccinated.
” Vaccination requirements will apply to all travelers aged 12 and over who are air passengers on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from a Canadian airport. »
In an exchange of e-mails, the Department of Transport confirmed to Radio-Canada that this requirement does indeed apply to all travellers, Canadian or not, who would like to leave the country from
” We will invite operators to determine how best to leverage the appropriate tools to implement these requirements for travellers. »
there are already comprehensive rules and restrictions for travelers arriving in Canada from abroadsays Sara Johnston, spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport.
Indeed, since the beginning of September, only properly vaccinated tourists can enter Canada. However, temporary workers and foreign students who do not have their two doses of vaccines recognized by Canadian authorities are allowed to arrive, but are subject to screening tests and a 14-day quarantine.
As soon as this regulation comes into force, they may therefore not be able to leave Canada.
A one-month transition period
A transition period until November 30 will allow travel without being vaccinated, provided you present a negative molecular screening test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours prior to travel. In addition, Transport Canada promises to give new
guidelines by that date “regarding travel restrictions for unvaccinated temporary foreign workers or foreign students wishing to take a connecting flight as part of their return trip to Canada”.
Wind of panic among foreign workers and students
This federal initiative is causing anxiety among foreign students and temporary workers who are not adequately vaccinated. They fear that they will not be able to return home when their permit expires or in the event of a family emergency.
Élodie D. says she is confused since this announcement by the Trudeau government.
I am anxious, stressed. I feel like imprisoned in Canadashe lets go.
Of French origin, she has lived in Canada since 2019, with her spouse and their two children. Currently breastfeeding, she prefers to wait before getting vaccinated. She prefers not to identify herself publicly because she fears discrimination from potential employers. This mother finds it hard to understand that Ottawa wants to prevent foreign nationals from leaving its territory.
” Do we have to sell the house in a hurry and leave? It squarely calls into question our life plans in Canada. »
Nesrine Bisa, founder of the Facebook group of mutual aid between Canadian travelers Canada Travel During Covidclaims to be overwhelmed with messages from members
upset and distraught.
There are those who are not vaccinated by personal choice, but we must not forget those who have received a vaccine not recognized by the Canadian authorities and who feel
trapped by these new rulesshe says.
Ali Kitchlew, for example, is a Canadian citizen who resides in Dubai and who received doses of vaccines not recognized by Canada, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
I’m afraid they won’t let me leave the country if I ever come to visit my familyhe assures, while evoking the complexity of the federal and provincial rules.
A court test to be expected
But is it legal? Can a foreigner, who lives in Canada, be prevented from returning home? Yes, according to Me François Crépeau, expert in international law, but only under certain conditions.
This measure constitutes a restriction of the freedom of persons, recognizes the professor from McGill University.
It is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own.
The real question, says the jurist, will be to demonstrate whether this restriction is justifiable and reasonable in a free and democratic society.
Is it normal to apply this measure to Canadians and foreigners? Is the transmission of COVID-19 in air transport important enough to prevent the unvaccinated from flying?
The lawyer is convinced that this measure will be challenged very quickly in court. But, according to him, the government could prevail.
” If it is demonstrated that it is effective in fighting the pandemic, I do not see the problem on the legal level with this measure. »
Should wanting to return to one’s country of origin take precedence over the international responsibility to protect everyone’s health? It will be up to the courts to decideadds François Crépeau.
Airlines await details
How will the airlines organize themselves? We put the question to Air Canada and the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC).
If they say they agree with the idea of compulsory vaccination, they claim to have no details and ask themselves questions about the implementation of such a measure, in particular from a point of view legal.
We look forward to immediate commitment from officials [du gouvernement] on implementation details and proposed regulationsunderlined the CNLA in a press release, deploring the absence of consultations in recent weeks and the delays
Nesrine Bisa, for her part, criticizes an announcement which, according to her, is imprecise and confusing.
Once again, we are being given new directives without giving us any details. We call Health Canada and Transport Canada, and we don’t get an answer. It’s chaos.