November 30, 2021, marks a significant milestone in Canadian aviation, with the final phase of Canada’s mandatory vaccination policy for travellers coming into effect. This means proof of vaccination for guests 12 years or older is required for travel on the WestJet Group, with narrow exceptions. It also marks a technology milestone with a Canada-wide QR code system for validation of vaccine status.
Since October 30, 2021, to travel with the WestJet Group, guests were required to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a valid PCR test to depart any Canadian airport. With the November 30 milestone, a valid PCR test is no longer an option.
While guests are permitted to use a variety of acceptable printed or electronic documentation to validate their vaccine status, they will save significant time and effort by using their COVID-19 proof of vaccination issued by provinces and territories or their internationally issued SMART Health Card credential, both of which can be scanned and validated in advance using WestJet’s new scanning capability, accessible during self-serve check in.
With the Federal Government’s mandatory vaccination policy for air travellers taking full effect, WestJet and Swoop are required to validate the COVID-19 vaccine status of all guests departing from all Canadian airports. The adoption of quick-scan QR codes is critical to efficiency as manual and in-person processes add significant time to the check-in experience.
“The introduction of a self-service solution ensures we can accurately and effectively validate 100 per cent of guests vaccination status,” explained Stuart McDonald, WestJet’s interim Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer. “Initially our agents had been manually validating vaccination status at various stages throughout the travel journey. We now have a Canada-wide technology solution that prioritizes guest privacy and ease of travel.”
In September, WestJet’s technology teams began developing an automated process to scan the provincial and territorial QR codes, which now contain each guest’s COVID-19 vaccine information. These automated scans are available via the WestJet App, digital check in and at our airport kiosks as of November 30.
“By automating the process through scans, our agents can focus on the higher touch aspects of assisting guests and ensuring we work to hold our place as Canada’s most on-time airline,” continued McDonald.