Ottawa promises vaccine passport for international travel this fall

The federal government says it plans to create proof-of-vaccination documentation for international travel by early fall.

Government working with other countries to recognize vaccination credentials

Ottawa is working with the provinces, which hold data on vaccinations, to develop a vaccine passport for international travel. (Charlie Riedel/The Associated Press)

The federal government says it plans to create proof-of-vaccination documentation for international travel by early fall.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said this afternoon that Ottawa is working with the provinces — which hold the data on vaccinations — to develop consistent credentials. The minister said the government is also working with other countries to recognize the credentials issued in Canada.

The federal certification would include data on the type of vaccines received, dates and location.

"For Canadians who decide to travel, using a proof of vaccination will provide foreign border officials with the vaccination history needed to assess whether a traveller meets their public health requirements and provide a trusted and verifiable credential for when they return home," says a government release.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the government expects the credentials to be digital but will also make it available for those without access to a device.

The federal announcement comes in the middle of a fierce debate as some provinces talk about introducing domestic proof of vaccination.

In Quebec, beginning in September, anyone wanting to visit non-essential businesses like bars, restaurants, gyms and festivals will need to present a scannable QR code through a smartphone app to prove they've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Manitoba has been issuing proof-of-immunization cards to residents who are two weeks past their second shot.

Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Iain Rankin has promised that a re-elected Liberal government would bring in a proposed ScotiaPass for fully vaccinated residents and that businesses and other organizations would be able to use the system to limit access to their services.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, meanwhile, continues to insist his province will not introduce proof-of-vaccination documentation.

"We've been very clear from the beginning that we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports," Kenney told reporters last month.

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

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