Can your favorite player play in Toronto? What you need to know about Canada’s COVID vaccine policy

MLB team rosters with unvaccinated players may look a little different when they travel to Toronto in the 2022 season. Due to Canadian federal policy, players who have not received a vaccine against COVID-19 will not be able to enter the country and play games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The Texas Rangers became the first team to face the restrictions created by the vaccine mandate; their series against the Blue Jays begins today.

Vaccination status varies from team to team, so Canadian federal policies will affect each team when they travel to Toronto.

What exactly is the policy for unvaccinated players and what does this mean for teams visiting the Blue Jays?

The Canadian government does not allow unvaccinated travelers to cross borders except in special circumstances, such as funerals of family members. Therefore, any unvaccinated Major League Baseball player will not be allowed to travel to Canada and will not be paid for those games (more details below). If players decide to get vaccinated to play games in Canada, they should receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson or their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least 14 days before entering the country.

Should the policy stay in place all season?

At the moment, there is no momentum towards this change in policy, according to sources. Unlike the exemption created by New York City Mayor Eric Adams for unvaccinated entertainers and athletes, there is currently “no interest” in creating a similar exemption in Canada, Blue Jays sources say. Of course, there are several months between opening day and the end of the regular season, and, as New York showed last month, things can change quickly. But as things stand, don’t expect that policy to change anytime soon.

Who are the key players who did not make the trip to Toronto for the opening weekend?

The Rangers won’t have any players missing in Toronto in their first series. The team arrived in Canada this week with their roster fully intact.

As the season continues, will we know in advance which players won’t make it to Toronto, or will it be a surprise?

Teams are not required to announce in advance, so as long as this policy exists, it will become a burning issue for players ahead of trips to Toronto. Some players who weren’t vaccinated last season — like Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts — have announced they’ve since gotten vaccinated. Others, like New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, avoided directly answering questions about their vaccination status. Unless teams decide to share in advance who won’t be making the trip to Toronto, expect speculation on each series.

What will players do who won’t travel to Toronto while their teams are in Canada?

Not getting paid to play baseball. Players who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to enter Canada, so unvaccinated players will not be able to stay in Toronto while their team is playing games at Rogers Centre. Players who cannot play games in Toronto will be placed on the restricted list – the most frequently used for players struggling with personal issues or legal issues – and will not be paid or receive service time.

“That’s a concern,” MLBPA leader Tony Clark said of the potential loss of salary and time on duty. “As everyone knows, we appreciate and respect the decisions that are being made, especially around the health of the players and the health of the community. But it’s an issue, as one in the pandemic it -even though we are sailing at the national level, that we are going to have to keep trying to work here to move forward.”

How will players who don’t make it to Toronto be replaced on the roster?

According to a league source, teams that need to place players on the shortlist will be able to add a replacement to their active rosters for the series.

Are there equivalents for other teams/cities in MLB or otherwise?

The NBA’s Toronto Raptors could provide a glimpse of any additional advantage the Blue Jays might have at home. Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and other unvaccinated players could not play in Toronto in the playoffs, which are due to begin on April 16, while teams like the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers declined to say whether they are completely vaccinated. The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks have confirmed they have all received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Which teams will travel to Toronto next?

The Jays kick off the season this weekend with a three-game opener against the Rangers. They then hit the road for a four-game series in New York against rival AL East Yankees.

The Oakland Athletics will then travel to Toronto for three games, April 15-17.