Jun 14, 2022
By Jane Brown
It appears the Trudeau Liberals are set to suspend COVID-19 vaccine mandates for domestic travel on planes and trains as well as outgoing international travel.
It is being widely reported the announcement will come Tuesday and the change will go into effect Wednesday.
The vaccine mandates first came into effect October 30, 2021 and have required all passengers on planes or trains to be double vaccinated against COVID-19 to be allowed to board.
The feds have been facing pressure to reduce constraints around travel as passenger volumes increase and as airports, especially Pearson Airport, see lengthy delays for passengers.
Meantime, the federal minister responsible for passport offices admits current wait times to get or renew Canadian passports are unacceptable.
But Karina Gould says she is unable to say when the process may return to normal.
“We’ve been putting changes in place since April that are helping to make this process more efficient,” Gould explained, “But I can’t unfortunately give you that date. What I can give you is my assurance that this is my number one priority.”
Gould says her department is considering further changes, including moving the application process online.
She also says her department is working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to determine if there’s a way to issue passports to people as they get their citizenship instead of requiring a separate application.
Passport applications dropped off significantly during the pandemic and passport staff were given other work during that time.