WestJet announces employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Weeks after federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra mandated that federally regulated airline employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the WestJet Group announced it will require all of its employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30.

“Protecting the health and safety of our guests and employees remains our number one priority, and vaccinations are our best line of defence,” Mark Porter, WestJet executive vice-president of people, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Read more: Canada to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for all federal workers by fall

“Aviation has been one of the hardest-hit industries, and we believe requiring all WestJet Group employees to be vaccinated is the right thing to do and ensures the safest travel and work environment for everyone in WestJet’s world.”

Porter said the vaccine as a requirement for employment is “essential to the safe restart of travel across Canada.”

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A press release for the Calgary-based airline said there will be evaluations and accommodations for those who are unable to be vaccinated for medical exemptions. Testing will not be provided by the airline as an alternative for vaccination.

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

WestJet workers face the possibility of unpaid leave or termination if they don’t attest to their vaccine status by Sep. 24 or don’t complete their vaccination by Oct. 30.

WestJet joins Air Canada, Porter Airlines and Air Transat in enacting mandatory vaccine policies for their employees following the federal announcement.

Read more: Porter Airlines set to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations or testing for all employees

South of the border, airlines like Delta, American and United have all enacted vaccine mandates for their employees.

Earlier on Wednesday, Canadian National Railway announced all of its employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

–with files from Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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