Even as Toronto and Vancouver’s international airports have stated they would divide arriving passengers by vaccination status in order to streamline customs inspections, Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport has already abandoned the practice.
“The goal was to have a smooth process; however the configuration of the area in the primary border control inspection line and the volume of fully vaccinated passengers did not permit the goal of smooth traffic flow,” Anne Marcotte, director of public relations for the Aéroports de Montréal airport authority explained in an email to Presse Canadienne.
Some medical experts say that the idea to separate passengers by vaccination status is a good idea, for a variety of reasons.
“This will allow people to move very quickly, in and out of customs and what not,” said Saskatoon-based intensive care unit physician Dr. Hassan Masri in an interview with CTV News. “But also in addition to that, I think it’s good to have a way to minimize the risk of interactions with other people who are potentially higher risk of having COVID-19 or spreading it.”
Even though Canadian border agents are asking incoming travellers for proof of vaccination status, Canada does not yet have any sort of official vaccine passport or certificate for its own citizens.
So far, the federal government has pushed the idea to the provincial level, but there’s no agreement between provinces on what approach to take. The premier of the country’s most populous province, Doug Ford, rejected the idea earlier this month saying “we’re not gonna have a split society.”
But Toronto-based emergency physician Dr. Kashif Pirzada told CTV News that he believes vaccine passports are a good tool to encourage people to get the vaccine.
“You know, we’ve tried the carrot approach, maybe it’s time with vaccine passports for a more coercive approach to convince people on the fence,” said Pirzada. “There’s people who will always refuse and they have that right. But we need to move on as a society. I don’t think this economy in this country can afford a fourth lockdown.”