Canada to End Vaccine Mandate for Professional Athletes, Visitors Starting in October

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 26, 2022

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 13: Players stand for the national anthem as the screen displays a Canadian Flag at the Scotiabank Arena before the home opener between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens on January 13, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The Canadian government announced Monday it will remove its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for entering the country starting in October.

"We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated," Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said of the decision.

The lifting of the mandate will allow all professional athletes to travel to Canada regardless of their vaccination status.

When the vaccine mandate was in effect, unvaccinated athletes were prohibited from joining their teams for road trips north of the border.

The new rule could have an immediate effect with the 2022 MLB playoffs on the horizon.

The Toronto Blue Jays haven't clinched a postseason berth but have a 2.5-game cushion in the American League wild-card race. Rogers Centre could be hosting a Wild Card Series matchup and any playoff games beyond that.

Under the expiring mandate, any team playing the Blue Jays was at risk for having players unavailable for games in Toronto. Now, that will no longer be a concern.

The expiration will also impact the upcoming NHL and NBA seasons, with all players now eligible to compete in regular-season games on Canadian soil.