Canada to issue vaccine passports for international travel

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The Canadian government has announced that it will issue proof of vaccination or vaccine passports, for international travel. The document may be released this fall.

A release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the government “recognizes” that proof of vaccination credentials will support the “re-opening of societies and economies” and that Canadians were looking for a “more reliable and secure way to demonstrate their Covid-19 vaccination history to foreign and Canadian border officials”.

In that context, it noted that Ottawa is “collaborating with the provinces and territories to develop a proof of vaccination that will facilitate cross-border travel while reducing the risk of spread and importation of Covid-19.”

It also said the attempt was to take “a secure pan-Canadian approach” based on advice from the country’s public health officials.

With the country gradually and cautiously reopening, Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees, and citizenship Marco Mendicino said “many Canadians are contemplating doing something they haven’t done in over a year and a half: traveling. Our work with the provinces and territories to provide a consistent proof of vaccination is a key step forward in ensuring Canadians will have the documents they need once it is safe to travel again”.

While the focus is on digital proof of vaccination, the passports will also be accessible to those unable to avail of them in that form. The passports, the release said, will provide foreign border officials with the traveler’s vaccination history while also providing a “trusted and verifiable credential for when they return home”.

Canada is participating in an international dialogue on such passports, including with the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, and through the G7. The statement said while currently there is “no international consensus on an acceptable proof of vaccination”, Ottawa was “working with international partners to recognize proof of vaccination credentials issued in Canada.”

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