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Air Canada issues COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees

Aug. 26 (UPI) — Air Canada has become the latest airline to mandate all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Canada’s largest airline made the announcement Wednesday in a statement, saying its employees have until Oct. 30 to report their vaccination status. It also said it was making full vaccination a condition of employment during its hiring process.

“Under the mandatory vaccination policy, testing will not be offered as an alternative,” it said. “While Air Canada will fulfill its duties to accommodate employees who for valid reasons, such as medical conditions, cannot be vaccinated, failure to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30, 2021, will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination, except for those who qualify for accommodation.”

The announcement was made after the government of Canada said Aug. 13 that it intends to require all federal employees to be vaccinated by as early as the end of September.

It also said that by no later than the end of October Canada will require all employees in federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated.

“The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travelers,” the Government of Canada said in a statement. “This includes all commercial air travelers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.”

On Aug. 18, Porter Airlines became the first Canadian airline to introduce a vaccine mandate for all employees, though it included the option to present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of a shift as an alternative.

The announcement by Air Canada was made on the same day Delta Air Lines said unvaccinated employees will be charged an extra $200 a month for health insurance starting November.

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