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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.
Public notice mandatory vaccination
On October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that, as of October 30, passengers ages 12 and over will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel on VIA Rail trains. To allow travellers time to become fully vaccinated, there will be a short transition period during which they will be able to travel if they present proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours prior travel. This is an alternative to showing proof of full vaccination. This transition period ends on November 30. If travellers have not yet begun their vaccination process, or do not begin soon, they run the risk of not being able to travel on board VIA Rail trains as of November 30. More details will be communicated on October 29.
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
As provincial reopening plans progress, please note that we are no longer limiting the number of seats we sell per train. If you are travelling on one of our busier trains, you will very likely be seated next to another passenger.
We are gradually re-introducing seat assignment at time of booking. Therefore, if a seat number is indicated on your boarding pass, please head to that designated seat. If a seat number is not indicated on your boarding pass, your seat will be assigned as you board.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you back on board.
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.
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:
- Practise physical distancing during your journey. Signs have been put up in our busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high-traffic areas.
- Face masks are required in our stations, during boarding, and on our trains at all times. Facial coverings can be temporarily removed when eating or drinking and must immediately be put back on afterwards.
- Check your itinerary before going to the station using our Arrivals and departures schedule.
- Snacks and meals for your trip: Business class meal service is back with some slight changes. Full food cart service is once again available in Economy class. Make sure to bring a regular or prepaid credit card (AMEX, Visa or Mastercard) or a VIA Rail gift card, as these are the only methods of payment accepted on board.
- We are gradually re-introducing seat assignment at time of booking. Therefore, if a seat number is indicated on your boarding pass, please head to that designated seat. If a seat number is not indicated on your boarding pass, your seat will be assigned as you board.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands regularly.
- Travelling in Western Canada? Learn more about the changes made to our services on board the Canadian.
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.