Canada Is Planning To Launch A Standardized Vaccine Passport

The Canadian government will launch a standardized Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel. They say this will provide Canadians with a reliable and secure way to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination history, both in Canada and internationally.

Calgary International Airport Air Canada
Canada is rolling out a standardized proof of vaccination status passport. Photo: Getty Images

Vaccine passport rolling out across Canada

The passport is part of a suite of measures that form the government’s vaccination commitments for their first 100 days following the swearing-in of the new Cabinet, to take place on October 26, 2021.

Canada’s government says the vaccine passport is now available to Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon residents. It will roll out to other provinces soon.

The announcement on Thursday also follows a previous announcement that said only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to board flights and long-distance rail trips in Canada. This rule comes into effect on October 30.

The vaccine passport is already available to residents of several provinces and territories. Source: The Canadian government

“Canadians have done their part by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” stated Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“As new vaccine requirements roll out for travelers, we are working to ensure that those who travel have access to a reliable, secure way to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccinations, both at home and abroad. We will continue to work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners so this standardized proof is available across Canada.”

Canada’s vaccine passport was developed by provinces and territories, with support from the government of Canada.  Canada’s government notes that while their vaccine passport is sufficient to get you onboard a flight or long-distance rail trip in Canada after October 30, the passport does not guarantee entry to another country.

However, the Canadian government says they are working with other countries to obtain recognition and acceptance of their vaccine passport, making it potentially useful for international travel.

The standardized proof of vaccination passport will help smooth out traveling across Canada. Photo: Getty Images

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Airline council welcomes the standardized proof of vaccination status

The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), an industry lobby group that represents Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP, and WestJet, welcomed news of a standardized proof of vaccination status in Canada, but warned as the airline industry became fully vaccinated, other measures must evolve.

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that all provinces and territories will be issuing a standardized and digital proof of vaccination that will enable Canadians to securely and quickly demonstrate their vaccination status in order to travel within Canada and abroad,” said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the NACC on Thursday.

“Release of this new “vaccination passport” utilizing the SMART Health Card standard is critical for the effective implementation of the mandatory vaccination mandate.

“With aviation becoming one of the only sectors requiring fully vaccinated employees and customers, it is imperative that the government work with us and determine what other travel measures can now be amended in keeping with global practices, such as elimination of blanket advisories against travel, elimination of mandatory PCR testing pre-departure for fully vaccinated international travellers coming to Canada, and enabling children under 12 to be exempt from de facto home quarantine.”

With 2022 shaping up as a good year for the airline industry, a slew of vaccine passports are coming onto the market. But the sheer variety may undermine their utility. A vaccine passport is only good if it is widely accepted.

While Canada’s version may get people around Canada, its real usefulness depends on its ability to get Canadians around the world.