Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today he's open to introduce a system of vaccine passports for international travel.
So far, some have floated the idea of a "vaccine passport" that would make it easy for individuals to prove to a store manager or staff member—through a smartphone app— that they've gotten the COVID-19 shot,
Dr. Kumanan Wilson at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute said in an interview with CBC that such an outcome was inevitable for certain industries: "This isn't a novel concept. We already have proof of immunization needed for a variety of uses." In this case, Wilson is referring to school vaccinations and existing restrictions on travelers entering countries where diseases like yellow fever can be found.
In Israel, where half of adults have had at least one vaccination and 90% of those over 50 have had both, paper and smartphones alike are used to confirm vaccination (and bypass social distancing if this is the case).
However, Trudeau did claim that he's not wholly onboard with proof of vaccination just yet. "The idea of certificates of vaccination for domestic use does bring in questions of equity. There are questions of fairness and justice. There could be discrimination," the prime minister noted in French. "There are some people who, because of medical conditions or other reasons, will not be able to get vaccinated. There are others who are not on priority lists who will have to wait much longer before getting vaccinations. These are things that we have to take into account."
For international travel, however, Trudeau is of a different mind. "[Vaccination requirement] is something that countries are actively exploring and we're among those countries," he said in French.
"We believe that Canada needs to be part of those conversations, first of all, to have influence at those tables in terms of how that might unfold," added Health Minister Patty Hajdu.