Calgary chamber asking province to create COVID-19 vaccine passport system

Chamber president and CEO Deborah Yedlin said businesses have voiced concerns surrounding their ability to stay open amid the province's lifting of restrictions.

Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly rejected the idea of a vaccine passport

Deborah Yedlin, the president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, says businesses want a vaccine passport to help prevent another wave of COVID-19. (University of Calgary)

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is asking the province to create a COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

Speaking on Tuesday on the Calgary Eyeopener, chamber president and CEO Deborah Yedlin said businesses have voiced concerns surrounding their ability to stay open amid the province's lifting of restrictions.

"Our members have told us that a vaccine certificate passport is a very good idea, and it's really, really critical to be able to continue to open successfully and consistently," Yedlin said. 

"If we're not going to be testing, tracing and isolating, we need another mechanism to keep everyone safe."

Vaccine passports are documents that can be shown as proof of immunization against COVID-19. Under such a system, those who don't have vaccine passports could be denied access to businesses and other public spaces.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has repeated stated that he is opposed to the concept of a vaccine passport, joining the ranks of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and other premiers, including Ontario's Doug Ford and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe. 

"We've been very clear from the beginning that we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports," Kenney said in July.

"I believe they would in principle contravene the Health Information Act and also possibly the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act."

WATCH | Find out how Israel increased its vaccine uptake with a Green Pass while Canadians debate civil liberty implications of vaccine passports:

The debate about COVID-19 vaccine passports

1 year ago
Duration 7:48
The debate about the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports is heating up as more people get vaccinated. Some say they can be incentives for people to get a shot and allow more normal activities to resume, but others worry about infringing on people’s freedom and privacy.

Last week, Quebec Premier François Legault said Quebecers would soon need to show proof of vaccination to be able to access non-essential service, like restaurants and bars, following a spike of COVID-19 cases in that province.

Yedlin said a similar system should be deployed in Alberta so businesses have the option to vet their customers. Such a system could involve an app or a physical card that would show a person has been vaccinated.

"There's an adage in business: If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," Yedlin said. "So that tool that comes with the test, trace, isolate is disappearing. So what's the next best mechanism? It's the vaccine."

Yedlin said the chamber will continue to lobby federal and provincial officials on the need for a passport.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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