Canadian travellers want vaccination passports, but they’ll have to wait

While  the European Union’s parliament debates its vaccine passport Wednesday, Canadian travellers are clamouring for similar documentation, but it seems that they’ll have to wait until more of their fellow citizens are vaccinated.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu told CBC News Tuesday that Ottawa is more focused on defeating the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic than prioritizing recreational travel.

“Our focus is making sure Canadians are safe and healthy, and our response will continue to be based on science and evidence,” said a statement from Hajdu’s office.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Tuesday that Canadians can expect some sort of vaccination certification for future travel, but gave no other details.

“As was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus. How we actually roll that out in alignment with partners and allies around the world, it’s something that we’re working on right now,” said Trudeau.

Canada’s partners and allies are not necessarily doing the ame thing, which is slowing down any adoption of a universal standard for vaccine documentation. Global airline industry body IATA is testing a digital travel pass while the EU has its own system. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom announced Wednesday that it will use its National Health Service phone app as its COVID-19 ‘vaccine passport‘ certificate.

The Montreal Economic Institute is calling for Canada to adopt a non-mandatory, decentralized vaccine passport.

“It’s even more important to have a vaccine passport given that it will likely be impossible for Canadians to travel outside the country without one,” said economist Miguel Ouellette, the Director of Operations and Economist at the MEI.

A new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum found widespread support around the world for vaccine passports. On average, about three in four adults across 28 countries agree that COVID-19 vaccine passports should be required for travellers to enter their country and that they would be effective in making travel and large events safe.

About two in three say the documents should be required to access large public venues. On the other hand, only about half agree they should be required for shops, restaurants, and offices.

The survey questioned 21,000 adults between March 26 and April 9, 2021.

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