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Porter Airlines mandating COVID testing, vaccinations for staff

Last Updated Aug 18, 2021 at 2:48 pm EDT

Baggage handlers at the Sault Ste. Marie airport are seen removing baggage from a Porter aircraft on April 1, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kenneth Armstrong

Porter Airlines is doing something no other Canadian airline has done so far — mandating COVID-19 testing or vaccinations for all team members.

The company said the move is being made in an effort to support a safe and healthy workplace for both employees and passengers.

The policy begins with the airline’s resumption of service on September 8.

The company says all team members must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

The announcement follows the federal government’s decision to mandate vaccinations for federally-regulated employers and workers.

Porter says once specific requirements are known, it’s policy may change.

“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,” Porter Airlines president and CEO Michael Deluce said in a statement released Wednesday.

“We are providing a testing option to ensure that personal circumstances are accommodated.”

Porter’s flights have been grounded for more than a year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.