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Masks for passengers
All passengers and employees must wear a mask at all times in our stations and on board our trains, except temporarily when eating or drinking (you must put the mask back on immediately afterward).
Young children under the age of six are exempt from this preventive measure. If the traveler is a child who is at least two years of age but less than six years of age (i.e., 2-5 years old) and is unable to tolerate wearing a face mask, the adult responsible for the child must still ensure that a face mask is made readily available to the child prior to boarding the train and should still try to encourage the child to wear it.
Individuals with a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask are also exempt, as long as they present an official medical certificate and an ID (with or without a photo).
As of November 9, 2020 individuals with a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask must provide an official medical certificate along with an identification card (with or without a photo). The medical certificate must meet the following criteria:
- Clearly indicates the passenger’s full name
- Specifies that the person has a medical condition (unrelated to COVID-19 or any other infectious illness) or a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask correctly. For example: “First name, Last name, cannot wear a mask while travelling due to medical or physical condition unrelated to COVID-19 or any other infectious condition.”
- The nature of the medical condition preventing you from wearing the mask does not have to be stated on the certificate and does not have to be disclosed
- Has been dated and issued by a healthcare provider on official letterhead with provider’s full name, license number, and phone number
Please note that the medical certificate may only be signed by a healthcare provider who is a member of a professional order with a license number such as a physician, nurse practitioner, dentist, physical assistant, physiotherapist, optometrist, psychologist, ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist.
For your protection and well-being and that of our employees, you are required to wear a medical mask, a non-medical mask, or a face covering made with multiple layers of tightly woven material (e.g., cotton or linen). It must be large enough to cover your nose, your mouth and your chin completely, without gaps, and be secured to the face with ties or ear loops.
Not allowed: Single-layer masks, scarves or bandanas, masks with exhalation valves and plastic masks will not be accepted, as they do not provide the level of protection required to limit the spread of the virus. Face shields may only be used in addition to a mask.
As masks are mandated by Transport Canada, failure to comply with these requirements will be considered misconduct that may result in sanctions and/or denial of boarding.
Passengers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability must provide an official medical certificate along with an identification card (with or without a photo.) More information
No. Masks must be worn at all times in our stations and on board our trains, except briefly when eating or drinking.
On board our trains
Please note that we are not limiting the number of seats available per train. If you are travelling on one of our busier trains, you will very likely be seated next to another passenger.
For the Ocean and Canadian:
There is presently no seat assignment; your seat will be assigned as you board. Please ignore any seat number that may be indicated on your boarding pass.
Signage and floor markings have been installed to promote physical distancing in all our stations and in business lounges. Passengers are advised to maintain physical distancing during boarding, and masks must be worn at all times.
You may ask a crew member if you can change seats. They’ll do their best to accommodate your request if space is available.
Cleaning and air circulation
As the health and safety of our passengers is our top priority, VIA Rail has introduced a series of measures so that our passengers can travel with confidence. Among those measures, our employees ensure a clean on-board environment.
VIA Rail cars are not equipped with HEPA filters but rather MERV filters with fresh air intakes. We have improved the filtration of the majority of our cars in service to ensure that we capture as many droplets and aerosols as possible that can transmit the virus. In addition, and in order to reduce the risk of transmission on board, masks must be worn at all times, physical distancing is encouraged, and cleaning protocols have been reinforced.
Our cleaning and maintenance protocols comply with Health Canada standards. Our stations are cleaned and disinfected up to twice daily. We also pay special attention to high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevators, washrooms, and light switches.
Canadian and Ocean trains
Washrooms will be sanitized every two to four hours as per health and safety recommendations, with cleaning products that have been approved by Health Canada to effectively eliminate the COVID-19 virus.
A very thorough evaluation of our air ventilation systems was completed. VIA Rail cars have MERV filters with fresh air intakes, which allow us to capture as many droplets as possible that can transmit the virus.
Passengers will be required to wear their mask at all times in stations and on board the trains, except when in an enclosed space such as a cabin or shower facility, or temporarily when eating or drinking (passengers are required to put their mask back on immediately afterwards).
Young children under the age of six and people with a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask are exempt from this requirement. In such cases, an official medical certificate and a government-issued photo identification will be required to attest that the passenger is unable to wear a mask. More information about the medical certificate.
Passengers will have access to the lounge cars however they will need to use a reservation system to access the Dining car for lunch and dinner.
Economy class passengers will be provided at-seat food cart service. Sleeper Plus class passengers will have access to meal service in the dining car. More information.
Passengers are advised that based on the current train configuration, some seats and rooms are backward-facing. Although we strive our best to provide forward-facing seats and rooms to passengers whenever possible, during peak periods this may not be possible.
If you’re not feeling well on board, please let one of our employees know immediately. Our staff have been trained on preventive measures and will take the necessary steps to help you while mitigating the possible risks to the other passengers.
Carry-on baggage assistance is available only to passengers with disabilities and/or limited mobility. We ask that you store any carry-ons in the overhead bin above your seat.
Checked baggage service is temporarily suspended within the Québec City–Windsor corridor, but it continues to be offered on all other VIA routes, as specified in our temporary schedules.
If you’ve just arrived from an international flight and need to take the train to get home, you will be allowed to board only if you meet the following criteria:
- You confirm that you are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
- You confirm that you have not been denied boarding by a carrier in the last 14 days.
- You confirm that you are travelling to your quarantine destination.
- You are wearing a mask that complies with our onboard regulations. More information