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Canada Develops COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

The documentation will provide proof of vaccination status for Canadians looking to travel internationally

Canada’s government has announced development of a COVID-19 vaccine certification for Canadian citizens who have been fully vaccinated to use while traveling internationally. The federal government is working with provinces and territories to establish a proof of vaccination system, according to a statement from Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

“We are working actively with the provinces and territories on a secure, pan-Canadian proof of vaccination for international travel,” Mendicino said.

Information in the vaccine passport will include the types of vaccine each individual received, dates and location, Mendicino explained. It will available to all fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents living in Canada.

The pan-Canadian vaccination passport for outbound travel comes as the country continues a cautious easing of inbound international travel restrictions. Starting Aug. 9, the borders reopened to fully vaccinated travelers from the US, and by Sept. 7, immunized travelers from the rest of the world will be able to visit Canada.

The government is planning to provide the certification in a digital format, but there will be a non-digital option for Canadians who need an alternative proof of vaccination, according to Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs.

While the passports are being created for international travel, LeBlanc said the federal government will work with provinces who may want to use it domestically for proof of vaccinations. However, the question of so-called vaccine passports is proving to be a vexing one for government officials and civil libertarians alike.

In June, Manitoba introduced its own vaccine passport to allow citizens to travel between provinces without the requirement to quarantine upon their return. Earlier this month, the province of Quebec announced it would followed suit, instituting a COVID-19 vaccine passport starting Sept. 1, to be used to access such non-essential services as gyms, bars, restaurants and events.

Meanwhile the premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, has thus far opposed requiring vaccine passports, despite calls from business leaders and politicians across Canada’s most populous province to use proof of vaccination as a step toward more normal living.

Similarly, Saskatchewan’s provincial government citing privacy concerns, has also declared it will not demand proof of immunization to attend events or as a condition of employment, although private organizations may still impose such a requirement.

“If the provinces wish to work with us in order to use our federal credentials within their province, we would be happy to work with them,” Leblanc said.