Edmonton

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce advocating for vaccine passports in Alberta

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is urging the province to consider implementing vaccine passports that would work within Alberta and beyond.

Premier Jason Kenney has previously spoken against introducing a vaccine passport system

Jeffrey Sundquist is the president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted by Edmonton Chamber of Commerce)

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is urging the province to consider implementing vaccine passports that would work within Alberta and beyond.

President and CEO Jeffrey Sundquist said businesses are cautiously optimistic about the economy reopening and are up for anything that might help them confidently open up to the public in a safe manner. He said proofs of vaccination are one way to encourage consumers to visit businesses or participate in events and travel. 

"What the government chooses to do clearly is up to them but the business community is open to any and all discussions relating to any sort of platform that can get this economy back on track," he told CBC's Edmonton AM on Thursday.

Vaccine passports would be documents that show proof of immunization against COVID-19. 

We speak to the new President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. 5:35

Premier Jason Kenney has said previously that the province will not be bringing in vaccine passports. 

"I believe they would in principle contravene the Health Information Act and also possibly the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act," he told reporters on July 12.

Kenney is joined by Ontario's Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan's Premier Scott Moe in this position.

Meanwhile, Quebec is implementing a vaccine passport system on Sept. 1. The passports will be used to access public events, bars, restaurants and gyms. 

Manitoba is offering proof-of-immunization cards to residents who are two weeks past their second shot.

Standardized system needed

Sundquist said the inconsistent way jurisdictions are handling vaccine passports is raising concerns around the visitor economy, especially one that brings in large crowds through sports teams, tourism operations, and event promoters.

"They would like some easy standardized system to ensure confidence in attendees to get people back assembling," he said.

Sundquist said all orders of government would need to collaborate for consistency.

"We need governments to take the leadership role on this and work together to make it easy as possible for frontline workers to effectively screen customers as they see fit."

As for the actual passports, Sundquist said they could be either in a digital format through an app integrated with a health system or else in paper form.

Whatever the format, he hopes the documents could be used by individuals no matter where they are in the country.  

"There has to be consistency and predictability, where different jurisdictions recognize that whatever this passport looks like is recognized beyond borders," he said. 

Sundquist said the chamber of commerce will continue to advocate for any mechanism that may help jump start the economy.

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