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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.
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.
Though we continue to limit the number of seats we are selling on our trains, we are opening up more seats per train as provincial reopening plans progress. Please note that if you are travelling on one of our busier trains, you may be seated next to another passenger.
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.
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.
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)
What to expect in our stations and on our trains
Enhanced sanitary measures
We have implemented stricter cleaning protocols in our stations and on our trains. For everyone’s safety, our employees will clean and disinfect common spaces throughout your trip.
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection of stations and of all hard surfaces on board (washrooms, tray tables, armrests, doors, etc.)
- Stricter protocols for high-contact areas: door handles, handrails, washrooms, etc.
- 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.
- Your seat will be assigned only as you board, and not when you book your ticket. If there’s a seat number indicated on your boarding pass, please ignore it. A VIA Rail agent will let you know where to sit when 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.
Answers to your questions
We update this section regularly to answer your questions.
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 at least two layers of protective absorbent fabric (e.g., cotton or linen). It must be large enough to cover your nose and mouth completely, without gaps, and be secured to the face with ties or ear loops.
Not allowed: Single-layer masks, scarf or bandanas, and masks with exhalation valves will not be accepted, as they do not provide the level of protection required to limit the spread of the virus. Plastic masks or face shields may only be used in addition to a mask.
As of November 9, individuals with a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask must provide an official medical certificate along with a piece of government-issued photo ID. 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
- 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 (doctor or nurse practitioner) on official letterhead with provider’s full name, licence number, and phone number
All hard surfaces in our cars, including vestibules, washrooms, tray tables, armrests, doors, walls, windows, and counters, are cleaned thoroughly and regularly. The cleaning products we use are approved by Health Canada and effectively eliminate the COVID-19 virus.
To ensure your safety and peace of mind during your trip, we clean and disinfect high-touched surfaces while the train is in operation.
Yes. Before a new passenger can be seated, seats are sanitized with products approved by Health Canada.
Whenever possible, we are limiting the number of seats sold on most of our trains. 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 be assigned only as you board, and not when you book your trip. If there’s a seat number indicated on your boarding pass, please ignore it. A VIA Rail agent will let you know where to sit when you board.
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.