The WestJet Group is sharing details of the evolution of its Safety Above All program to reflect mandatory employee vaccination and mandatory traveller vaccination, in line with the Canadian government mandate.
Effective Oct. 30, 2021, The WestJet Group will implement the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policy for air travellers and will operate as a fully vaccinated airline, managing minimal accommodations pursuant to human rights law.
Ed Sims, WestJet Group, president and CEO, said that: “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.”
Sims added: “We are taking all necessary steps to ensure our guests are advised of the new requirements for travel prior to taking their next flight.”
For travel on or after Oct. 30, 2021, the implementation of the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policy for travellers marks a major change to the Canadian travel journey.
For Phase I, for travel between Oct. 30 and Nov. 29, 2021, in order to travel with The WestJet Group, guests must prepare to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a valid PCR test to demonstrate the requirements for travel.
For Phase II, for travel on or after Nov. 30, 2021, only proof of vaccination for guests 12 years or older, with narrow exceptions, will be acceptable for travel on the WestJet Group.
The company notes that as this is a Canadian government mandate, guests are advised to visit https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying for the most up-to-date information, including the limited options for exceptions to this new policy.
The WestJet Group will be actively communicating this expectation for travel through a variety of notifications including: notification emails; check-in declaration; validation requirements; in addition to changes to www.WestJet.com and www.flyswoop.com.
Said Sims: “As we transition to a fully vaccinated company and Canadian airline industry, we will continue to advocate for the recalibration of travel guidance and policies that were implemented prior to the widespread availability of vaccines.”
As announced, effective Oct. 30, 2021, WestJet and Swoop will transition to fully vaccinated airlines with the implementation of the company’s mandatory employee vaccination policy.
Sims pointed out that: “Vaccination is our best way out of this pandemic, and more than 98 per cent of our workforce self-declared their full-vaccination intent prior to the implementation of these policies. We continue to work together with our employee, labour and contractor groups to ensure the successful implementation of our corporate policy.”
All WestJet Group employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and full vaccination status is a requirement of employment for all future employees hired by the WestJet Group, with accommodations managed pursuant to human rights law.
Employees who failed to achieve full vaccination status by Oct. 30, 2021, face unpaid leave and termination of employment.
The company also said that it welcomed a standardized and digital proof of vaccination that will enable Canadians to securely and quickly demonstrate their vaccination status in order to travel abroad and is awaiting additional details on timelines, nationwide availability and global acceptance.