Porter Airlines is introducing a COVID-19 vaccination policy for its employees in order to safely return to the skies.
The Toronto-based air carrier restarts service on Sept. 8, and has mandated that all of its staff must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift. It is the first Canadian airline to take this measure.
The federal government recently announced its intention to mandate vaccination for federally regulated employers and workers. In a news release, Porter said once specific requirements from the government are known, the policy may evolve.
“We have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace. With vaccines readily available for everyone in Canada and the U.S., and their proven effectiveness, requiring vaccination or regular testing is a critical measure to protect the health of our team members,” said Michael Deluce, Porter's president and CEO. “We are providing a testing option to ensure that personal circumstances are accommodated.”
Porter said the airline industry has been critically impacted by the pandemic. Travel restrictions have been recently modified after more than a year, based on vaccination rates, with the effectiveness of vaccines is shown to be consistently at 95 per cent or greater in reducing severe illness and death.
“This policy is another layer of reassurance for our passengers," added Deluce. "In addition to our Healthy Flights program, now every team member passengers come in contact with will either be fully vaccinated or recently tested. Working and flying with Porter will be a safer experience for everyone."
Porter provides service to a number of major Canadian and U.S. cities, including the Northern Ontario cities of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins.