August 13, 2021 | Circular No. 11311

Dear Member,

The federal government announced earlier today that employees in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by no later than the end of October 2021.

Although details of this new policy are still at a very early stage and will be fleshed out in consultation with industry over the coming weeks, Transport Canada (Marine Safety and Security) held a preliminary information session for industry this afternoon, at which it confirmed the following:

  • The vaccination requirement will apply to marine workers who fall under the jurisdiction of the Canada Shipping Act, including domestic seafarers.  It will NOT, however, apply to seafarers working on board foreign flag ships, as such workers are not federally regulated.
  • The requirement will apply to employees of all federal crown corporations, including pilotage authorities.
  • The requirement will apply to certain travelers, including passengers travelling on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations (both domestic and foreign flag).

Although not discussed during the information session, transportation sector employees who fall under the jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code (including port, terminal, and rail workers) are also expected to be subject to the new requirement.

Transport Canada will be meeting with stakeholders over the next few weeks in order to discuss details and issues related to the implementation of the new policy, including how proof of vaccination will be demonstrated, what contingencies will be available to individuals who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated, and whether additional categories of individuals / employees may be subject to the vaccination mandate.

We will provide members with updates on all of the above as more information becomes available.  In the meantime, the link to the government’s press release on the new policy can be found HERE.


Karen Kancens
Vice President