CALGARY, AB, Oct. 22, 2021 /CNW/ - Today, the WestJet Group shared the evolution of its Safety Above All program to reflect mandatory employee vaccination and mandatory traveller vaccination, in line with the Government of Canada mandate.
Effective October 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.
"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," said Ed Sims, WestJet Group, President and CEO. "We are taking all necessary steps to ensure our guests are advised of the new requirements for travel prior to taking their next flight."
Mandatory vaccination policy for travellers
For travel on or after October 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 October 30 and November 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 November 30, 2021, only proof of vaccination for guests 12 years or older, with narrow exceptions, will be acceptable for travel on the WestJet Group.
As this is a Government of Canada 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 WestJet.com and flyswoop.com.
"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," continued Sims.
The WestJet Group mandatory employee vaccination policy
As announced, effective October 30, 2021, WestJet and Swoop will transition to fully vaccinated airlines with the implementation of the company's mandatory employee vaccination policy.
"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," said Sims. "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 October 30, 2021, face unpaid leave and termination of employment.
International travel vaccination passport
The WestJet Group welcomes 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.
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline's Safety Above All promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.
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Recent recognition includes:
2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada)
SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership
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