After months of debate and controversy, the federal government is finally ‘all in’ on vaccine passports – but only for international, not domestic, travel. And the Health Minister has tipped her hand in suggesting what Canadians’ vaccine passport might be.
On the weekend, Patty Hadju told CBC “Canadians are going to want to travel and just like there have been changes in other kinds of travel requirements over the years as a result of a number of events, Canadians need to be prepared to be able to travel internationally. And we’ll make sure that they are.”
Hadju says the government recognizes that internationally-recognized vaccine certification is going to be a required standard for travel. Earlier this month, the Health Minister told Canadians that she is meeting regularly with “G7 counterparts and this
is an ongoing conversation about how that might look and how we might be able to have some sort of standardized approach to (vaccine passports).”
In another interview over the weekend with CTV, Hadju revealed a G7 health minister meeting just last week recognized “there are a lot of different kinds of vaccines around the world,” and came to a consensus that there should be “some sort of common way to be able to quickly credential people’s certification of vaccination.”
During her CBC interview, Hadju revealed the federal government is looking at expanding the use of an existing app, “ArriveCan” to serve as Canadians’ ‘vaccine passport.’
“From our perspective we have a bit of a head start in terms of entry into Canada in that we have ArriveCan, the app that allows for digital proof of testing … and a variety of other documents that people have to submit to enter Canada.”
The app is already required for arrivals by land or air into Canada, and allows travellers to register the results of COVID tests, their quarantine hotel booking, and provide details of their quarantine plans for land entry, as well as contact information for themselves and their travel party.
No Domestic Vaccine Passports
If ArriveCan does become the digital vaccine passport for Canadians to register their vaccine status to be recognized by other countries for the purposes of travel, it will not be required within Canadian borders.
In her interview with CTV, Hadju clearly stated that vaccine passports would not be required within Canada.
“There’s no intention to impose a domestic vaccination passport at the federal level,” the health minister said, “But I will remind people that certain settings will require vaccination as they always do. So, for example schools require certain childhood immunizations. Some universities and colleges may require vaccination. There might be requirements for certain workplaces, and those are all, as you know determined that local and provincial levels.”
Hadju did hint that at some point in the future, a “more uniform vaccine card” might be issued to address the “patchwork in ways people across Canada are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines.”
Hadju’s comments in the media over the weekend come as a new Ipsos poll suggests most Canadians support vaccine passports for international travel.
61 per cent of Canadians say they expect to see vaccine passports in use this year, and even more – 78 per cent – agree that all arrivals into Canada should come bearing a vaccine passport. That aligns with respondents in the 27 other countries surveyed.
The same survey revealed Canadians see the value of vaccine passports to ensure the safety of large events as well as travel, but not for other, everyday, domestic activities like shopping or restaurant dining.