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COVID-19: Preventive measures
We're moving with you
The safe way to travel together
Helping you travel has always been at the heart of everything we do. And now that you’re ready to start moving again, we’ll continue to be there for you, keeping you moving in safe, smart, and thoughtful ways, because your peace of mind is on our minds.
The health and safety of our passengers and employees is our top priority. That is why we have made changes to our services and implemented preventive health measures that we will continue to adapt to help curb the pandemic and meet your needs.
Following the Government of Canada’s requirements on mandatory vaccination and to further protect the health and safety of our employees, passengers and the communities we serve, VIA Rail is implementing a COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policy.
Passengers over 12 years and 4 months are required to be fully vaccinated to travel on VIA Rail trains, as well as to access a VIA Rail Business lounge.
To qualify as fully vaccinated, you need to have:
- Received the full series of a vaccine or a combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada;
- Received your last dose at least 14 days prior to your train’s departure;
- And a proof of vaccination credential.
The valid proof of vaccination needs to be in line with what is available in your province or country in a paper or digital format.
The proof of vaccination must include:
- The name of the person who received the vaccine;
- The name of the government or the name of the non-governmental entity;
- The brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was administered; and
- The dates on which the vaccine was administered or, if the evidence is one document issued for more than one dose and the document only specifies the date on which the most recent dose was administered.
For passengers originating outside Canada, an ArriveCan receipt with immunization status denoted is accepted.
The limited exemptions to mandatory vaccination include:
- Medical inability to be vaccinated;
- Essential or urgent medical services and treatment, and;
- Sincere religious beliefs.
If you qualify to be exempt from the mandatory vaccination when travelling on our trains, please contact a VIA Rail agent at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing).
Exemption forms, with supporting documentation, must be completed and submitted at least 21 days prior to departure for sincere religious conviction reasons or for medical inability reasons.
Exemption forms, with supporting documentation, must be completed and submitted at least 14 days prior to departure for essential medical services and treatment reasons.
Any request made outside of this period cannot be guaranteed.
Exemption requests will not be processed in any of our stations, at any time.
- Medical Inability Exemption form
- Medical Inability Exemption form - Accessible version
- Sincere Religious Belief Exemption form
- Sincere Religious Belief Exemption form - Accessible version
- Essential Medical Services or Treatment Exemption form
- Essential Medical Services or Treatment Exemption form - Accessible version
In addition, a proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours prior to scheduled date and time of departure will need to be presented prior to boarding.
Face mask: protecting others
All passengers will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times. The mask may be temporarily removed for eating or drinking. Masks are now mandatory for all employees at all times on trains and in-station. Please note that, for the health and safety of all passengers and employees, boarding will be denied to passengers not wearing a mask, and passengers will be detrained if they refuse to wear a mask during the trip.
Young children under the age of two are exempt from this preventive measure. Also exempt are individuals with a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask, as long as they can provide an official medical certificate along with an identification card (with or without a photo).
- Medical mask
- Non-medical mask with the following criteria:
- made with multiple layers of tightly woven material (e.g., cotton or linen);
- large enough to cover your nose, your mouth and your chin completely, without gaps;
- secured to the face with ties or ear loops.
Masks not allowed
- Masks with tears or holes
- Single-layer masks
- Plastic masks
- Masks with exhalation valves
- Scarves or bandanas
- Face shields (can only be used in addition to a mask)
Stress-free booking options
With flexible booking, you can cancel your reservation at any time prior to departure. You’ll receive a full refund and incur zero service charges, regardless of when you purchased your ticket.
See our refund policy for full details.
Seating on Board
We’re progressively limiting the number of seats that we sell on most of our trains to help us keep some distance between passengers, to the extent possible. However, if you’re travelling on one of our busier trains, it’s possible that you’ll be seated next to someone.
Your seat will therefore be assigned only as you board, and not when you book. If there’s a seat number indicated on your boarding pass, please ignore it.
Before booking, check the latest and most up-to-date information regarding our current train service.
Travelling between regions: Things to know
Certain provincial or municipal travel restrictions may prevail in the regions we serve. We ask that passengers stay informed of public health guidelines and respect those that apply to them and their travel plans. Working together helps us all move forward.
For more information on current provincial guidelines, please consult the Government of Canada’s website.
We recommend that you purchase your tickets online. If you must buy your tickets at one of our stations or en route, please note that you will have to pay by regular or prepaid credit card (AMEX, Visa or Mastercard) or with a VIA Rail gift card. Cash is now accepted at staffed stations in the Corridor.
What to expect in our stations and on our trains
Enhanced sanitary measures
For everyone’s health and safety, we have implemented stricter cleaning and disinfection protocols in our stations and on our trains, thorough cleaning of common spaces and hard surfaces, and distribution of hand sanitizers at key points of contact.
The cleaning products we use have been approved by Health Canada and effectively eliminate the COVID-19 virus.
Due to the impact on travel demand in response to the rapid-spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant, Business class is suspended and Business lounges are closed until further notice in the Québec City-Windsor corridor.
Our usual carry-on baggage assistance service is only offered for passengers with disabilities and/or limited mobility. On board, 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 and Jasper-Prince Rupert, but it continues to be offered on all other VIA Rail routes, as specified in our temporary schedules.
Health checks: What we do
Our employees conduct a health check before passengers are permitted to board our trains. This mainly involves asking simple health questions and looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding.
If you have cold- or flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), we ask that you postpone your travel plans and not board the train. If you develop symptoms on board, let one of our employees know immediately. As recommended by Health Canada, our employees have been trained on additional preventive and reactive measures.
Here’s what you can do to travel safely:
- Physical distancing: maintain distance of 2 meters from other people.
- Face masks: required in our stations and on our trains at all times except while eating or drinking.
- Check your itinerary using our arrivals and departures schedule.
- Payment: only credit cards (AMEX, Visa or Mastercard) and VIA Rail gift cards accepted. Cash is now accepted at staffed stations in the Corridor.
- Seat assignment: if a seat number is indicated on your boarding pass, please head to that designated seat. If not, your seat will be assigned as you board.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands regularly.
- Travelling on the Canadian? Learn more about the changes made to our onboard services here.
- Travelling in Eastern Canada? Learn more about the changes made to our services on board the Ocean.
Visit our FAQ page for the most up to date information and answers to the most commonly asked covid-related questions. This page is updated regularly to address all your concerns.
For the latest developments on the situation in Canada and the risk to Canadians, please consult the FAQ section of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website.
Being aware that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 can help you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and the community. To help stop the spread of the virus, download the COVID Alert app, available for free on the App Store and Google Play.
If you’ve travelled recently, you can check your flight, cruise, or train trip on the Government of Canada’s website to see if you may have been exposed to the virus in the past 14 days.