WestJet Will Require Passengers To Be Vaccinated From October 30th

Announced on October 22nd, Canadian carrier WestJet will have a mandatory employee and traveler vaccination policy in one week’s time. The move is in line with the mandate set by the government of Canada, which makes vaccination mandatory for all federally regulated transportation sectors, which includes commercial air travel.

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The requirement comes from the Canadian government. Photo: WestJet

Coming into effect on October 30th

Effective on October 30th, WestJet will require all travelers to be vaccinated in order to fly with the carrier. The carrier says that it will operate as a fully vaccinated airline, “managing minimal accommodations pursuant to human rights law.”

“The implementation of these policies mark a major confidence milestone for our industry as Canadians can fly knowing that they are travelling within a fully-vaccinated ecosystem,”Ed Sims, WestJet Group, President and CEO

The airline’s CEO adds that WestJet is taking all necessary steps to ensure its guests are advised of the new requirements for travel prior to taking their next flight. In addition to an official post on its website, WestJet also posted the news to its social media channels.

Although the announcement is coming from WestJet, it doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Indeed, the government of Canada has set a mandatory vaccination policy for all federally regulated transportation sectors. Thus, similar policies will be implemented at other Canadian carriers such as Air Canada, Air Transat, Porter Airlines, and more.

A two-phase implementation for passengers

WestJet states that its policy will come into effect in two phases, which are as follows:

  • In Phase I, guests must show proof of vaccination or a valid PCR test to travel. This phase will go from October 30th to November 29th, 2021.
  • Then, in Phase II, for travel on or after November 30th, 2021, the PCR test option will be removed. Thus, only proof of vaccination for guests 12 years or older, “with narrow exceptions,” will be acceptable for travel.

WestJet is making this announcement as a group, emphasizing that it applies to all of its airlines. This includes WestJet mainline flights, its regional airline Encore, and its budget wing, Swoop.

Guest talking with a WestJet agent.
Both airline employees and airline passengers will have to be vaccinated. Photo: WestJet

Also effective on October 30th is WestJet and Swoop’s transition to being fully vaccinated airlines. Both carriers are implementing a mandatory employee vaccination policy.

The airline’s CEO says that his airline group will “continue to work together with our employee, labor and contractor groups to ensure the successful implementation of our corporate policy.”

If employees fail to achieve full vaccination status by October 30th, they face the prospect of unpaid leave and termination of employment.

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Welcoming Canada’s standardized proof of vaccination

Discussing the recent news of a Canadian initiative for a standardized nationwide vaccine passport, the airline adds that it “welcomes a standardized and digital proof of vaccination” for Canadian guests to securely and quickly demonstrate their vaccination status. WestJet, and the rest of the country, however, are waiting for additional details on timelines, nationwide availability, and global acceptance.

Before the news, each province had its own form of vaccination proof, making travel to other provinces potentially problematic. Some provinces have yet to adopt the new federal vaccine passport for residents.