Contrary to CFL messaging, union views Canadian vaccine travel mandate as uncertain at this time

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Contrary to what commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated, the CFL Players’ Association has conveyed to its members that at this time there is no clarity or facts for travel vaccine mandates.

As soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the federal government plans to extend its vaccination requirement to certain travellers. That could include all commercial air travellers and passengers on interprovincial trains.

The government will engage with key stakeholders to plan for the implementation of these initiatives. Details will be communicated as the work unfolds. The process will include determining how this requirement will be implemented, through confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination and other means of protection, such as testing when necessary.

The CFLPA office sent a memo to the union on Tuesday as case counts rise in the fourth wave. They stressed the need to be “extra cautious” and the importance of the players playing their part in making the 2021 season a success.

As case levels rise, we anticipate more restrictions may be mandated from our health authorities across the country. We need to be prepared to adjust and adapt our routines to minimize our chances of contracting and spreading the virus.

We are very much still in a pandemic, and we will need to work respectfully and cooperatively within our locker rooms to make it through our season.

We all understand that these protocols are sometimes cumbersome, but they are in place to protect you and your fellow team members as much as possible. Please remember you are not just doing this for yourself but also for everyone else in your locker room who depend and rely on your diligence when coming together as a team.

On the field, everyone pays for weakness within the team, and the same goes for our COVID protocols: everyone relies on their teammates to do the right thing for everyone to be safe.

There has also been an announcement by the federal government regarding air travel restrictions within Canada for individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID19.

There are no definite answers as to whether this policy will go into effect​ or what its terms will include, and ​that clarifying information will not be ​available until such time that it is implemented. We also do not know whether any exemptions will be given and to what degree they may be allowed.

As it remains an individual’s choice to become vaccinated or not, the Association is raising this issue as there is no certainty of what, if any appeal, ​may be available against or under such a ​policy ​once implemented by the government. ​In addition, if there is a route of appeal, the process will be lengthy with an uncertain outcome.

The CFLPA’s recommendation is for all members affected by such a decision to understand the significance ​and potential impact to them beforehand.

There will be limitations and potential for pay loss scenarios for players, as teams may be in the position to lawfully withhold paycheques or terminate contracts if a player can not accompany the team because vaccines are required for travel.

It is essential that you rely on the information given to you by your Association and not rely on media outlets for data. Asking questions to your player reps and leadership will be critical, as statements on COVID-19 protocols and matters will be given by the CFLPA & CFL.

We will make this season a success by not letting this virus get the best of us. Do what is necessary to curb the spread of this virus. We can do this, but only if we, individually and collectively, embrace the same discipline and commitment that made you professional athletes.

Please don’t let your guard down.

According to the feds, since the start of the vaccination campaign in mid-December, less than one percent of coronavirus cases have been among those who were fully protected by the vaccine.

These measures will contribute to reaching the overall levels of vaccination Canada needs to sustain a resilient economic recovery in the face of more transmissible and dangerous COVID-19 variants of concern.

More than 71 percent of eligible people in Canada are fully vaccinated, and over 82 percent have had their first shot. However, north of six million eligible Canadians are still unvaccinated.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.