TORONTO — Canada will likely drop the vaccine requirement for people entering the country by the end of September, according to multiple reports Tuesday, a move that impacts unvaccinated professional athletes who travel there for matches.
To enter the country, the Canadian government currently requires a person to have received a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – or a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – at least 14 days prior to entry. But the government will likely drop that requirement, pending final approval from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In baseball, unvaccinated players have been placed on the shortlist at their teams’ games in Canada. They don’t get paid and don’t accrue major league service time, according to a March agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association. Canada’s lifting of restrictions would now allow unvaccinated major leaguers to play in Toronto in the playoffs if the Blue Jays qualify for the playoffs.
In the NBA, teams were told via memo last month that players must still have received a primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine, or received medical clearance to obtain one, in order to play. games in Canada. But that would no longer be necessary once the restrictions are lifted.
The vast majority of NHL players were vaccinated last season, with the notable exception of Todd Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.