LILLEY: Most premiers reject domestic vaccine passports, and that’s a good thing

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France will require proof of a negative PCR test or a vaccine passport in order to go shopping or to a restaurant as of August. Health workers who refuse to get vaccinated by Sept. 15 could face sanctions or fines.


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Will those types of measures be coming to Canada? Not likely, at least not for most of the population and anywhere that does try will face legal challenges.

France, unlike Canada, is struggling to get its population vaccinated and it isn’t due to a lack of supply. While 69% of Canada’s total population has at least one shot, in France, it is just 52% and even though Canada has just 43% of its total population vaccinated, France is still behind at 36%.

After a rocky start with an unstable supply, Canada’s vaccination program is chugging along.

It’s part of the reason why Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was able to be so forceful on Monday in rejecting the idea of imposing a vaccine passport in his province. Well, that and most experts believe imposing such a condition would violate several laws and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


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“We’ve been very clear from the beginning that we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports,” Kenney said as he spoke to reporters at his Stampede pancake breakfast.

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

Kenney isn’t alone among premiers in rejecting the idea of a vaccine passport but neither are provincial leader unanimous.

Manitoba is using a vaccination card, issued to those with two doses, to waive the requirement to quarantine if they travel outside of the province. Quebec has said it may use a domestic vaccine passport if the province is hit with a fourth wave this fall.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, though, is saying he isn’t going to bring in such a system, saying it is everyone’s constitutional right to decide on their own medical treatments including vaccines.


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“I can’t force anyone to get it. I encourage them, as everyone has. I’d like to see 100%,” Ford said of vaccine uptake.

In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe is promoting the idea of full stadiums when the CFL’s Riders take to the field later this summer but he won’t bring in domestic vaccine passports.

“With respect to provincial vaccine passports, or requirements to be vaccinated to attend certain events or work in certain areas of that nature, the government of Saskatchewan is not moving in that direction,” Moe said in late June.

Moe cited the possibility that requiring proof of vaccination would violate several provincial laws in explaining his position. That view is backed by provincial privacy commissioners and ombudsmen across the country who have issued warnings about requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities.


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There’s a good chance any attempts by provincial governments, or private entities, to require proof of vaccination would end up facing court challenges.

As for the federal government, so far, they are only looking at requiring proof of vaccination for those entering Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the idea of a domestic vaccine passport problematic on many fronts but is looking for proof of vaccination for people entering the country.

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We already know the federal rules allow those fully vaccinated to skip the mandatory two-week quarantine for Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to the country. As for non-citizens coming into the country, last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if and when the border opens back up, unvaccinated tourists wouldn’t be allowed in.

  1. A student's hand it marked to indicate he was not vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Exeter High School prom.

    Vaccine passports contentious issue for the unvaccinated

  2. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney keeps a sharp eye on the prize as he shows off his pancake flipping skills at the annual Premier's Stampede Breakfast in downtown Calgary on Monday, July 12, 2021.

    Alberta premier says province will not bring in COVID-19 vaccine passports

  3. An Angus Reid poll shows that 79% of Canadians support a vaccine passport for international travel.

    BRAUN: Canadians approve of ‘vaccine passport’ for travel purposes

“I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen for quite a while,” Trudeau said.

As for Canadians looking to travel, don’t be shocked if you are required to show proof of vaccination to enter another country. Even before COVID, many countries required proof of vaccinations from travellers and as a non-citizen, there is little you can do about it.


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