Canada Exploring the Idea of ‘Vaccine Passports’ with G7 Allies: Health Minister

March 30, 2021 Updated: March 31, 2021

Canada is exploring the idea of issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports in coordination with its G7 allies, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Monday.

According to a report by iPolitics, Hajdu said the idea was briefly discussed during her meeting with health ministers from G7 countries—Canada, the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

“We are having conversations with the Americans, but also through the G7 and many other international forums, exploring this idea of some form of … evidence of vaccination at international borders,” Hajdu said.

A “vaccine passport” is a travel document that proves an individual has been vaccinated against certain diseases such as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19 and emerged from China in late 2019.

The idea of COVID-19 vaccine passports is being debated in some countries around the world, which are looking at a range of uses beyond international travel, including for citizens to gain entrance to places like bars, gyms, or concert halls.

While President Joe Biden’s administration is not working on COVID-19 vaccine passports, it is trying to establish standardized guidelines to show proof of vaccination.

The European Commission has also proposed a plan to create its own document, called “digital green certificate,” which can be used for travelling between EU countries.

“The G7 partners agreed that there needs to be some consistency and some collaboration among the countries, so we have some kind of system that would be recognizable, no matter where a person was travelling,” Hajdu said.

Hajdu noted that one existing concern about issuing vaccine passports is the lack of scientific proof of whether vaccinated people can still transmit the CCP virus to others.

Some have also raised the question of fairness regarding vaccine passports.

Ryan O’Conor, a lawyer at Zayouna Law Firm in the Greater Toronto Area, has urged the federal government to kill the idea of vaccine passports.

“The Liberals ought to completely disavow vaccine passports for intra-Canada travel and participation in daily life. Such measures breach several sections of the Charter, are discriminatory, and create a two-tier citizenry,” O’Conor wrote on Twitter earlier this month.

“We are having those conversations about what international travel might look like, and what kinds of criteria would need to go into any kind of vaccination certification process, and how we deal with the equity issues that will likely arise as a result of inequitable access to vaccination globally,” Hajdu said.

She said the G7 countries did not set a specific deadline for discussions on vaccine passports, but said they are committed to continue exploring the option.