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Canada easing COVID-19 test

Canada vaccine passport required for international travel

On August 11, Canada announced it is implementing vaccine passport for international travel.

The requirement applies to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents.

The Canada vaccine passport will be common across all provinces. It will include the following:

  • holder’s COVID-19 vaccination history
  • date of vaccination
  • type of vaccination and,
  • location that gave the vaccination

The vaccine passport primarily aims international travel. However, the federal government anticipates using it as domestic proof-of-vaccination tool.

What is a Vaccine Passport?

Vaccine passports prove that an individual has received COVID-19 vaccination. It provides proof for international travel. But also clears the path to participate in activities previously restricted due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine passports help facilitate safe return to many aspects of ordinary pre-pandemic life. In particular international travel and social/entertainment gatherings.

See also Is COVID-19 Vaccine Passports program coming to Canada?

Neil McArthur, associate professor and director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, said it’s more of a licence than a passport.

“The term passport can be a little misleading, because we’re not [just] talking about travelling internationally… This is more like a kind of licence that you would need to do certain kinds of activities. Whether it’s to be in group situations or to go to work.”

“I think the first thing that’s going to be part of the conversation is people needing their immunization to go to work and to go to school and to go to university. Those are the things that have the greatest social and economic impacts.” said McArthur.

Concerns about Vaccine Passports

Concerns remain that vaccine passports could prejudice certain individuals. For example, there are many Canadians that have not had the chance or the opportunity to have double vaccination.

Back in January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau worried that a vaccine passport could have “real divisive impacts” for Canadians. He has softened his view as vaccination became widespread.

See Government of Canada’s vaccine passport announcement.

The concept of a vaccine passport is not new in Canada. Some Canadian provinces require that children vaccination for certain diseases before attending school. Ontario and New Brunswick require immunization for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella for all students. And, Manitoba requires a measles vaccination.

In fact, before COVID-19 , many countries required traveller proof of immunization against diseases like yellow fever.