OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given the strongest indication yet that Canada could adopt a policy of vaccination passports for international travel, in line with a growing number of countries around the world.
At his COVID-19 briefing on March 12, Trudeau was asked about vaccination passports, a hot topic lately. On March 1 the president of the European Commission said the EC will present plans for a possible vaccination passport this month, with an eye to restarting travel in a safe manner.
As recently as January 2021 Trudeau said he was opposed to the concept, however in recent weeks, as reported on Travelweek.ca, his wording has suggested he’s leaving the door open.
On Friday Trudeau was careful to distinguish between vaccination passports for international travel, and proof of vaccination for use domestically, i.e. for everyday activities here in Canada.
When it comes to certification of vaccinations for international travel, “that’s something that has existed for a long time,” said Trudeau. “This is a well-established practice.”
He added: “This is something countries are actively exploring. And we are among those countries.”
“I’m not excluding anything,” he said, adding “we’ll see how the next months unfold.”
On the other hand, he said, issues of equity and fairness could arise if proof of vaccination is required for everyday activities, here at home in Canada.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, in the coming weeks the federal government’s science advisor will submit feedback on if and how Canada should adopt vaccination passports.
When the issue last came up earlier this month, Trudeau said that at that time that from the outset of the pandemic, “the experts’ recommendations evolve and the data evolves,” and added that the Canadian government “will be following their best advice.”
While there are potential pitfalls for vaccination passports, several travel agents Travelweek spoke to last month were largely in favour of anything, including vaccination passports, that can help jumpstart travel after almost a year of pandemic restrictions.
BA’S CHIEF WEIGHS IN
Meanwhile the CEO of British Airways says once people get vaccinated, they should be allowed to travel without restrictions.
Wire service Reuters reports that the airline’s CEO, Sean Doyle, made his comments in the wake of announcements last month from the UK government that UK residents would be able to travel domestically starting April 12, which is also the day the government is expected to give more information about international travel, potentially restarting May 17.
“I think people who’ve been vaccinated should be able to travel without restriction. Those who have not been vaccinated should be able to travel with a negative test result,” said Doyle.