Backgrounder: New measures introduced for the use of face coverings in the Canadian transportation sector

To further reduce risk and support a safe restart of the economy, the Minister of Transport is expanding the requirements for the use of face coverings for all employees who are unable to maintain physical distance of two metres from passengers or other workers.

The new measures will be implemented through a combination of Interim Orders and guidance material, consistent with the specific characteristics of each mode.

Aviation

In aviation, the existing face covering requirements will be extended beyond passengers to include some flight crew, gate agents, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) screening officers, and other airport workers, with some adjustment to reflect safety requirements.

All non-passengers entering the restricted area of an airport must have a face covering and wear it:

  • At the security screening checkpoint by a CATSA officer when that officer is two metres or less from a person they are screening;
  • At the security screening checkpoint by the non-passenger who is being screened;
  • During the boarding process when a gate agent is two metres or less from another person (e.g., accepting boarding pass or identity documents); and
  • During a flight when the crew member is two metres or less from another person (e.g., assisting or serving a passenger).

These measures come into effect at noon EDT on June 4, 2020.

Pilots will not be required to wear face coverings on the flight deck as a result of safety concerns identified by the industry.

Marine

Transport Canada is issuing a Ship Safety Bulletin to ask that:

  • All workers in the marine transportation sector have in their possession, or have access to a face covering.
  • A face covering be worn when recommended based on a risk assessment specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities or vessel masters require it.

Rail

Transport Canada is issuing face covering guidance to the rail sector to ask that rail operators:

  • Notify passengers that they will be asked to wear a face covering when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained or as requested by rail operators;
  • Provide or make accessible an appropriate face covering to all workers in the rail industry; and,
  • Ensure that a face covering be worn by workers when recommended based on a risk assessment specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities require it.

It is recommended that train passengers wear a face covering when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained during their travel or as requested by rail operators.  

Road

A set of practices is being established for the use of masks, face coverings and gloves to help protect workers and passengers involved in road transportation. Developed in collaboration with provinces, territories and industry, these practices will apply to:

  • Commercial vehicle and motor carrier operations;
  • Intercommunity bus operations; and
  • Urban transit operations.

Respectful of the lead role of public health agencies in the context of health risk reduction and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the practices established for road transportation are informed by public health guidance, in full respect of jurisdictional authority and regional operational realities.