No Date on Loosening Travel Restrictions, Vaccine Passports: Canada’s Transport Minister

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he cannot yet commit to a date for when so-called vaccine passports will happen in Canada — or the COVID-19 vaccination rate benchmarks that will allow Canada to ease travel restrictions, CTV News has reported.

Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra

“These decisions will depend on public health, will depend on data and evidence. At this moment I can’t give you a specific date,” he told reporters. “We’re going to have all of these measures and all of these thresholds outlined in detail when we feel it’s time to do so.”

Alghabra has also stressed the need for a “common platform” to identify travellers’ vaccination status, repeating other government ministers’ messages late last week that he is working with G7 countries and the European Union to integrate vaccine certification into international travel in the months ahead.

Still, iPolitics has reported that along with news regarding travel restrictions, the travel minister said he could not provide a specific date for the arrival of vaccine passports.

The Public Health Agency of Canada late Friday announced it “is extending the temporary travel measures restricting entry into Canada by foreign nationals until June 21, 2021… Canada’s approach to border management includes entry and flight restrictions; mandatory pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post-arrival testing requirements; mandatory hotel stopover for air travellers; and mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers.”

That leaves Canadians out in the cold waiting to hear when, and under what conditions they’ll be able to travel, even as other countries – including the EU – have agreed to relax restrictions on fully-vaccinated arrivals, as well as establish standardized proof of vaccination for the purposes of travel.

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