COVID-19 in Canada: Health minister responds to irresponsible Sunwing Cancun travellers, possible provincial vaccine mandate

·2 min read

Canada's Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, provided an update on the maskless influencers who were partying, drinking and vaping on a chartered Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun.

"We know that this issue of Sunwing travellers having behaved irresponsibly, inexcusably, and unacceptably on a flight to Mexico [has] raised a lot of anger and frustration," Duclos said.

He said that recent information received by the federal government indicates that 27 of the more than 100 passengers have returned to Canada, where they were "stopped and interrogated" at the airport.

"They were then all tested, they were checked with regards to whether they had obeyed and followed all of the health regulations that they were supposed to follow throughout their trip, in particular regarding the proof of vaccination,...the integrity of their PCR test. Their quarantine plans were also inspected," Duclos said.

He added that Quebec's police department sought information from the Public Health Agency of Canada about the travellers.

"That’s in addition to the ongoing investigation and possible prosecution that Transport Canada and other agencies will continue to pursue," the health minister said.

Canada's Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole responds to the government’s economic update in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable
Canada's Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole responds to the government’s economic update in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable

COVID-19 vaccination could be mandatory in Canada

Duclos commented that, from his perspective, based on "what we see internationally and domestically," he believes Canada will likely see COVID-19 vaccination made mandatory, put in place by provinces and territories.

"It’s a decision that will be made by province and territories, at some point," the health minister said. "But what we see now is that our healthcare system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired and the only way that we know to [get through] COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is through vaccination."

Duclos also responded on Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole pushing for accommodations to mandatory vaccination rules, like using rapid tests as an alternative.

"Rapid tests are not going to end the crisis, rapid tests are not going to solve COVID-19," Duclos said. "The only thing that will solve COVID-19 is vaccination."

"That’s why, again, so many people, including myself, are disturbed by the fact that Mr. O’Toole is not even asking his own members of parliament to be vaccinated. That, I don’t understand and I think no health expert understands, and most Canadians don’t understand.... Mr. O’Toole should ask his members of parliament, his caucus members, to be vaccinated. That would be a sign of leadership on his part."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting