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Canada “suspends” vaccine mandates for travellers

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra confirmed that ArriveCan will continue to be in use. Photo: CPAC

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government announced on June 14th that it will “suspend” vaccine mandates for travellers.

“As of June 20, it will suspend vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees,” the media release reads.

International Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc opens the press conference by stating the mandates will be lifted, but they can be brought back.

In addition, federal employees who had been suspended from their jobs will be permitted back to work:

“As of June 20, 2022, at 00:01 EDT, employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine sectors will no longer be required to have mandatory vaccination policies in place for employees.

“Employers will be responsible for establishing return-to-work practices.

“Furthermore, the Government of Canada is no longer moving forward with the proposed regulations to make vaccination mandatory in all federally regulated workplaces,” the release states.

Use of the ArriveCan app may be simplified, but it will remain a requirement, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra noted.

Numerous skeptical observers immediately pointed out that “suspending” does not mean “eliminating,” that Ministers speaking at the press conference referred repeatedly to the safety and efficacy of vaccines and boosters, and that the government is getting ready for possible future outbreaks.

Conservative Pierre Poilievre tweeted “Trudeau is now backing down on some of his discriminatory vaccine mandates only because of the pressure we have mounted. The thanks goes to the courageous public servants, truckers and countless other Canadians who suffered and sacrificed to stand up to government bullying.”

Dr. Paul Alexander, who was working in support of suspended federal workers, noted in an email “I say thanks to the government for reversing an illogical, irrational, inept, nonsensical, corrupted, specious, absurd policy, hurting people, these people had no income for 5-6 months, suffering…some could not take it and I leave it there. But we will now ensure people get their back pay.”

The video above, posted by American hockey player Ryan Whitney, has been credited at least in part with highlighting the chaos at Pearson International Airport and pressuring Trudeau to lift the mandates.