The requirement, effective April 20, follows a Directive issued today by the Minister of Transport of Canada requiring travellers to wear protective face-coverings at various stages of their air travel journey. Pursuant to the Ministerial Directive travellers will be required to show that they have a suitable face covering prior to boarding Air Canada flights. Travellers who do not have their own face-covering will be provided with a suitable mask at security by CATSA.
Since early April, Air Canada has been strongly recommending that all customers wear a face-covering over their mouth and noses while onboard its flights following revised recommendations by the Public Health Agency of Canada. With today's Ministerial Directive, customers on all itineraries must wear such protection at check-in, at time of boarding, and upon entering the aircraft where social distancing is not possible. Customers will be asked to lower their masks to facilitate full ID checks as required by Canadian regulations at check-in. While on board, customers will be required to wear their face coverings, in accordance with the Ministerial Directive and in accordance with the directions from the cabin crew.
Customers may bring their own face covering which may include a cloth mask, scarf or similar item. See PHAC website (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health.html) for examples of recommended non-medical coverings. Critical medical-grade masks will continue to be strictly reserved for frontline workers.
Air Canada has also implemented social (physical) distancing where possible during boarding and where feasible, on-board its aircraft, with as few people sitting next to one another as possible. Air Canada also recommends customers check-in online or via the Air Canada App prior to arriving at airports to minimize social contact at airport check-in areas.
Additional information about Air Canada's preventative measures are at: https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/covid-19-preventive-measures.html