Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference on Friday in Mississauga, Ontario, where he announced that his party, if re-elected, would create a $1 billion COVID-19 "proof-of vaccination" fund, which would provide funding to provinces that move forward with vaccine passports.
Trudeau said that the fund would aid provinces who may potentially be wary of a vaccine passport due to the costs associated with implementing a program.
During the press conference, Trudeau took shots at the O'Toole Conservatives—who currently lead the Liberals in national polling—for stunting what Trudeau said is a vital part of restoring normalcy.
"We know that the way to get through this pandemic is to get people vaccinated. And provinces that choose not to move forward on some sort of vaccination mandate are going to face weaker growth, more economic challenges in their recovery, and fewer jobs created because they're not doing everything they can to keep people safe," citing the chief economist of TD Bank.
"We're not going to tell provinces what it is exactly that is right for them. But we will be there to support them if they move forward with strong, clear mandates that say that people need to be vaccinated to do certain non-essential things."
In a statement, the Liberals said that a re-elected Liberal government will:
- Introduce a "COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Fund" that will be available to support provinces and territories who implement a requirement for proof-of-vaccine credentials in their jurisdiction for non-essential businesses and public spaces;
- Continue to procure enough vaccines to ensure all Canadians have access to free COVID-19 booster shots and second-generation vaccines as needed, across all provinces and territories; and
- Invest to study the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, including the effects of “long-COVID” on groups including vulnerable populations and children.
"Vaccines are the best way for Canadians to beat this virus, grow the economy, and keep everyone, including our kids, safe and healthy," said Trudeau in the statement.
"That’s why we’re ensuring anyone travelling on a plane or a train must be vaccinated – but Erin O’Toole won’t listen to the experts on this issue. He can’t even convince his own candidates to get vaccinated. We need leadership to get us through this crisis and get the job done on vaccines. The Liberals are the only ones who can deliver that."