As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says that discussions are “very live” among her G7 counterparts about introducing some form of vaccine passport to allow people to travel internationally.
“We’re certainly working on the idea of vaccine passports with our G7 partners. I was on a call with my G7 health minister counterparts just a couple of weeks ago, and that is a very live issue,” Hajdu told CTV.
Hajdu remained noncommittal on whether Canada would adopt the idea, but she did note that other countries and industry groups, like IATA, are looking into the best ways to provide proof of immunization in order to travel internationally. Some European countries have already stated that they would require such documentation to allow foreign travellers to enter.
“We’ll be coming back to Canadians as we understand more about the intentions of our counterparts internationally, and as we understand more about how that will unfold around the world,” she said.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that he was opposed to vaccine passports, calling them divisive as not everyone will get vaccinated.
“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges — we are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible but we always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated and not necessarily through a personal or political choice,” Trudeau said.
While some health ethicists have cautioned against such vaccine passports as they can create two classes of citizens, University of Toronto bio-ethicist Kerry Bowman told CTV News Channel that when it comes to travel, they may become “almost inevitable.”
While Hajdu said that Canada is concerned about equity given the limited number of Canadians who have been vaccinated so far, she did admit that in the case of vaccine passports “there are requirements to travel internationally around disease prevention already.”