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Air Canada requiring all employees, new hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19

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Air Canada says it is now requiring all airline employees and new hires to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The announcement from Canada’s largest domestic and international carrier also marks it as the first major airline to mandate vaccines for all employees.

Toronto-based Porter Airlines announced last week that it would be requiring all employees to either be fully vaccinated, or to present a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their shift.

Read more: Politicizing COVID-19 vaccine mandates could backfire, experts warn

Air Canada said in a statement Wednesday that testing will not be offered as an alternative to mandatory vaccinations.

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“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 October 30, 2021 will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave or termination, except for those who qualify for accommodation,” read the release.

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All employees of the main Air Canada line, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Vacations will be affected by the policy, and will have to report their vaccination status, the airline said.

Read more: Trudeau doubles down on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for domestic travel

The airline said its new policy is being released in accordance with the federal government’s move to mandate vaccines for all federally regulated employees by the end of October. The airline, as well as major Canadian carriers including WestJet and members of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), previously said they welcome the move.

Several major airlines responded to inquiries from Global News on whether they would be mandating vaccines for all employees.

A spokesperson from WestJet pointed to the company’s statement on federally mandated vaccination requirements for airline workers, and said they had nothing further to add.

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“We continue to be a strong partner in Canada’s vaccination rollout and are working diligently to implement the government’s policy on mandatory vaccines for airline employees,” read a statement from Mark Porter, WestJet executive vice-President, people and culture on Aug. 13.

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Jazz Aviation said that as a federally regulated company, they would be subject to the government’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations by Oct.

“We are currently in discussions with Air Canada to better understand their policy as we develop our policy for Jazz employees. We have no further details to share at this point,” a spokesperson said.

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