Backgrounder: National vaccination requirement for federally regulated transportation sectors: Accommodations for remote communities


Beginning October 30, 2021, passengers over the age of 12 plus four months travelling by air or rail will need to provide proof of vaccination (e.g., as issued by the province or territory of residence or other health authority) in order to board a train or plane.

Until November 30, 2021, a valid COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of travel will be accepted as an alternative to full vaccination. After November 30, only limited exceptions will be permitted to the vaccination requirement. Medevac flights are excluded from these requirements.

Remote communities

For those living in remote communities (some of which are not accessible by road), air or rail travel is often the only link to essential services in support of their medical, health, or social well-being. Travel can involve either moving from the remote community to a "gateway" airport to the final, often southern, destination or boarding a train to travel to a more southerly destination.

The Government of Canada is working with provinces, territories, Indigenous organizations and local authorities to develop accommodations to appropriately address the needs of remote communities.

It will work with provincial and territorial governments and other partners to refine this approach based on early experiences, and to develop the next phases of accommodation for remote communities as the national vaccine requirement for travellers evolves.

The Government of Canada is committed to work with local health officials, communities and aviation partners to maximize flexibility, exercise discretion and minimize disruption, when implementing this new requirement on October 30.

Interim Accommodations for Remote Communities

For those travelling from remote communities, being vaccinated provides the best protection for themselves, the people they are travelling with, and their community members. Carrying proof of vaccination is the best option when travelling.  

In recognition of the unique needs of remote communities, the national vaccination requirement will include specific accommodations for travellers from remote communities, to ensure they will be able to obtain essential services in support of their medical, health, or social well-being, and return safely to their homes. 

For air travel

The following accommodations will be put in place for unvaccinated travellers to and from remote communities:

  1. Anyone completing quarantine under Public Health Authority requirements prior to travel (e.g., as required by Nunavut) will be exempted from the testing requirements (i.e., the quarantine will be accepted as equivalent to the negative test requirement).
  2. Travellers flying out of remote communities will be exempt from the mandatory testing requirement before they depart until such time as the local testing capacity is in place (work is underway to do that).
  3. Instead, free, rapid high-quality testing COVID-19 testing will be available at "gateway" airports and southern airports for an interim period to enable these travellers to be tested as soon as possible in their journey, and to ensure their travel is safe for themselves and others.

Quarantine in lieu of Vaccination or a Test

Some health authorities (e.g., Nunavut) require a 14 day quarantine prior to travel to the Territory.

Those unvaccinated travellers who are subject to these restrictions will be exempt from the requirement to provide proof of vaccination or a valid COVID-19 molecular test.

Departing Remote Communities

Until local testing capacity is fully in place, unvaccinated travellers departing from airports serving remote communities will not be required to provide proof of vaccination or a valid COVID-19 molecular test.

This accommodation extends only to a "gateway airports" where free, rapid testing will be available for the interim. 

The Government of Canada is working diligently with industry partners to deploy high-quality (molecular) rapid tests so they are available in gateway airports, and it is working with provincial, territorial, and local partners to expand local testing capacity in the remote communities to support safe travel and other community needs.

Onward and Return Travel

Unvaccinated travellers will be encouraged to access, where capacity is available, local molecular COVID-19 testing.

However, to ensure all travellers coming from, or transiting to, remote communities have access to molecular testing, the Government of Canada will provide Canadian airlines that transport travellers to and from Gateway communities, (Annex A), with self-administered rapid COVID-19 molecular test kits at no charge.

At gateway airports, airlines will provide these test kits, along with clear Health Canada-approved instructions, to all travellers who are not vaccinated or do not have a valid molecular test result prior to checking in for any flight to remote communities or to southern destinations.

Additional testing kits will be provided to airlines at southern airports for travellers beginning their multi-flight transit back to a remote community.  

A negative test result will allow unvaccinated travellers to continue their travel without the need for another test result for 72 hours (e.g., the test result could allow traveller to board multiple flights).


The Government will take a flexible approach to implementing these accommodations, and will adjust as quickly as needed to ensure continuity of essential air services to remote communities. In addition, based on continued consultations with stakeholders and lessons learned during the early implementation period, the Government of Canada will continue to work with stakeholders to refine these accommodations.

The goal remains to ensure remote communities are able to realize the benefits of this strong COVID-19 mitigation measure immediately while facilitating travel that is essential for these remote communities.  

The Government of Canada will also work to build testing capacity in remote communities through the provision of high quality rapid molecular tests. 

In advance of November 30, the Government of Canada will work with provinces, territories and national Indigenous Organizations to refine the approach for the next phase of implementation. Ensuring an approach that achieves the overall health objectives while accommodating the needs and realities of remote communities remains a key priority.

For rail travel

The Government of Canada recognizes the unique needs of travellers from remote communities and wants to ensure they will be able to travel for their medical, health, or social well-being, and return safely to their homes.

  1. If you are a resident in a remote community serviced by VIA Rail between The Pas and Churchill, Manitoba, or are a resident of community serviced by Keewatin Railway Company, you are exempt from the requirement to demonstrate proof of vaccination or to present the results of a COVID-19 test until local testing capacity is in place.
  2. If you are a resident of a remote community for which VIA Rail may be the only means of transportation, you may also be exempt from these requirements. Please contact VIA Rail for more details.

This accommodation does not apply to onward rail journeys on the remainder of VIA Rail's network and does not apply to travelers who do not reside in these communities.

Annex A – Gateway airports

Transport Canada, working with communities and aviation stakeholders, will continue to monitor the list of Gateway airports to ensure Gateways are appropriately identified and provided with testing resources.

Province/territory Gateway airport
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Deer Lake
  • Gander
  • Goose Bay
  • St. Anthony
  • St. John's
  • Wabush-Labrador
Nova Scotia
  • Halifax
  • Chibougamau
  • La Grande Rivière
  • Mont Joli
  • Montréal
  • Québec
  • Rouyn-Noranda
  • Sept-Îles
  • Val d'Or
  • Iqaluit
  • Hamilton
  • Kingston
  • London
  • North Bay
  • Ottawa
  • Sault St. Marie
  • Sudbury
  • Thunder Bay
  • Timmins
  • Toronto (Pearson)
  • Brandon
  • Thompson
  • Winnipeg
  • Prince Albert
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
Northwest Territories
  • Yellowknife
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Fort McMurray
  • Grande Prairie
  • Lethbridge
  • Medicine Hat
  • Red Deer
British Columbia
  • Campbell River
  • Comox
  • Dawson Creek
  • Fort St. John
  • Kelowna
  • Nanaimo
  • Prince George
  • Prince Rupert
  • Quesnel
  • Smithers
  • Terrace
  • Vancouver
  • Victoria
  • Williams Lake
  • Whitehorse

Annex B – Remote airports

  1. Ahousaht
  2. Aklavik
  3. Akulivik
  4. Alert Bay
  5. Arctic Bay
  6. Arviat
  7. Attawapiskat First Nation
  8. Aupaluk
  9. Baker Lake
  10. Bearskin Lake First Nation
  11. Beaver Creek
  12. Bella Bella
  13. Bella Coola
  14. Berens River
  15. Black Tickle
  16. Braeburn
  17. Brochet
  18. Burwash Landing
  19. Cambridge Bay
  20. Camsell Portage
  21. Carcross
  22. Carmacks
  23. Cat Lake First Nation
  24. Chapman
  25. Chesterfield Inlet
  26. Chevery
  27. Chipewyan Lake
  28. Chisasibi
  29. Churchill
  30. Clyde River
  31. Colville Lake
  32. Coral Harbour
  33. Cousins
  34. Cross Lake
  35. Dawson
  36. Dawson's Landing
  37. Dease Lake
  38. Deer Lake First Nation
  39. Deline
  40. Eabametoong First Nation
  41. Eagle Plains
  42. Eastmain River
  43. Echo Bay
  44. Ehattesaht
  45. Elk Island
  46. Faro
  47. Finlayson
  48. Fond-du-Lac
  49. Fort Albany First Nation
  50. Fort Chipewyan
  51. Fort Good Hope
  52. Fort McPherson
  53. Fort Nelson
  54. Fort Selkirk
  55. Fort Severn First Nation
  56. Fort Simpson
  57. Fort Smith
  58. Fort Ware
  59. Fox Lake
  60. Gamèti
  61. Gjoa Haven
  62. God's Lake Narrows
  63. God's River
  64. Grise Fiord
  65. Grosse Île
  66. Haines Junction
  67. Hall Beach  (Sanirajak)
  68. Harrington Harbour
  69. Hartley Bay
  70. Hay River
  71. Hopedale
  72. Hot Springs Cove
  73. Hyland
  74. Igloolik
  75. Inukjuak
  76. Inuvik
  77. Iskut
  78. Island Lake
  79. Isle-aux-Grues
  80. Ivujivik
  81. Kangiqsualujjuaq
  82. Kangiqsujuaq
  83. Kangirsuk
  84. Kasabonika Lake First Nation
  85. Kashechewan First Nation
  86. Keewaywin First Nation
  87. Kegaska
  88. Keno
  89. Kimmirut
  90. Kingcome Village
  91. Kingfisher First Nation
  92. Kinngait
  93. Kitasoo
  94. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (Big Trout Lake First Nation)
  95. Kitkatla
  96. Klemtu
  97. Kugaaruk
  98. Kugluktuk
  99. Kuujjuaq
  100. Kuujjuarapik
  101. Kyuquot
  102. La Romaine
  103. La Tabatière
  104. Lac Brochet
  105. Little Grand Rapids
  106. Lutselk'e
  107. MacMillan Pass
  108. Makkovik
  109. Marten Falls First Nation
  110. Masset
  111. Mayo
  112. McQuestern
  113. Minstrel Island
  114. Minto
  115. Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation
  116. Nahanni Butte
  117. Nain
  118. Natashquan
  119. Natuashish
  120. Naujaat
  121. Némaska
  122. Neskantaga First Nation
  123. Nibinamik First Nation (Summer Beaver Band)
  124. Norman Wells
  125. North Caribou Lake First Nation (Round Lake First Nation)
  126. North Spirit Lake First Nation
  127. Norway House
  128. Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (Heliport)
  129. Ocean Falls
  130. Old Crow
  131. Olgilvie
  132. Oona River
  133. Oxford House
  134. Pangnirtung
  135. Pauingassi
  136. Paulatuk
  137. Peawanuck
  138. Pelly Crossing
  139. Pikangikum First Nation
  140. Pine Lake
  141. Pond Inlet
  142. Poplar Hill First Nation
  143. Poplar River First Nation
  144. Port Simpson (Lax Kw'Alaams)
  145. Port-Menier
  146. Postville
  147. Pukatawagan
  148. Puvirnituq
  149. Qikiqtarjuaq
  150. Quaqtaq
  151. Rankin Inlet
  152. Red Sucker Lake
  153. Resolute
  154. Rigolet
  155. Ross River
  156. Sachigo Lake First Nation
  157. Sachs Harbour
  158. Saint-Augustin
  159. Salluit
  160. Sambaa K'e
  161. Sandspit
  162. Sandy Lake First Nation
  163. Sanikiluaq
  164. Schefferville
  165. Shamattawa
  166. Silver City
  167. Slate Falls First Nation
  168. South Indian Lake
  169. St. Theresa Point
  170. Stony Rapids
  171. Sullivan Bay
  172. Tadoule Lake
  173. Taloyoak
  174. Tasiujaq
  175. Telegraph Creek
  176. Teslin
  177. Tête-à-La-Baleine
  178. Tsay Keh
  179. Tuktoyaktuk
  180. Tulita
  181. Twin Creeks
  182. Uclucje / Ucluelet
  183. Ulukhaktok
  184. Umiujaq
  185. Uranium City
  186. Wapekeka First Nation
  187. Waskaganish
  188. Watson Lake
  189. Webequie First Nation
  190. Wekweeti
  191. Wemindji
  192. Whale Cove
  193. Whatì
  194. Williams Harbour
  195. Wollaston Lake
  196. Wrigley
  197. Wuikinuxv Village
  198. Wunnumin Lake First Nation
  199. Wylie
  200. York Factory First Nation
  201. Yuquot