It appears millions of unvaccinated Canadians will soon have more travel options as the federal government looks to take another step toward reducing airport congestion.
According to multiple reports, the Trudeau government will announce Tuesday that it will be dropping vaccine mandates for domestic travel on planes and trains, as well as outbound flights overseas.
The suspension of the mandate is reportedly set to go into effect this week.
The requirement for passengers leaving Canadian airports, and those wanting to travel domestically on a train or plane, to show proof of vaccination has been in effect since Oct. 30, 2021. There are approximately five million unvaccinated Canadians.
The expected change comes amid long lineups at airports in Canada, with many travellers expressing their frustrations with the delays in recent months as travel rebounds following a pandemic hiatus.
Conservatives have been calling for an end to COVID restrictions and criticizing the Trudeau government for not anticipating the spike in travellers. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has previously said the government will make decisions on COVID measures in consultation with health officials.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has hired over 850 new screening agents in recent weeks to help deal with delays and get passengers to their gates faster.
The airports council and other industry groups have called for an end to vaccine mandates for passengers and aviation employees, saying that hundreds more workers could be on the job supporting travellers.
Reports of the suspension of the vaccine mandate comes days after the federal government announced it would pause random tests for arriving international passengers, and that mandatory rapid tests for unvaccinated arrivals will happen off-site starting July 1.
The government continues to require 14-day quarantines of unvaccinated Canadian passengers and to bar unvaccinated foreigners from entry.
On Sunday, the U.S. lifted its requirement for arriving international air travellers to take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights.
Canada dropped its pre-entry testing requirement for international air travellers as of April 1. All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, are also still required to use the ArriveCAN app before their arrival.