As France issues vaccine passports, questions linger about Canada's approach

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that people will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter establishments like bars, restaurants and movie theatres.

Brendan Boucher Ottawa ON

Questions have arisen over Trudeau's approach to vaccine passes in Canada as France takes a hardline approach.

French President Emmanuel Macron  announced this week that people will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter establishments like bars, restaurants and movie theatres, as well as all french health care workers needing to be vaccinated by September 15th. In Canada, Justin Trudeau has left the decision of domestic vaccine passports up to the provinces but that leaves lingering questions about how, when, and why they will be implemented.

"In terms of domestic reflections (of vaccine passports) that’s something the provinces themselves will establish as what is right for them," Justin Trudeau said about vaccine passports. Quebec and Manitoba are moving forward will a plan to implement while Alberta is strongly against the idea. Other provinces like Ontario and British Columbia seem caught in the middle of what to do.

In Quebec, vaccine passports will start to be issued in the coming months but the government says they will only be used as an alternative to lockdowns in the event of another outbreak. In that case, access to businesses deemed non-essential will be restricted to those who can provide proof of vaccination.

In Manitoba, demand for proof of vaccination cards are so high the province ran out of stock to print them. The pass exempts citizens from provincial quarantine rules when returning to the province as well as greater access to longterm care home visits and other medical facilities. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL team has come out and said that they will demand proof of vaccination from anyone wishing to attend a game.

While Canada and the United States have seen a lack of interest in vaccines from young people, France's announcement of vaccine passports prompted the largest vaccine appointment booking period so far. This may lead more country to do this in an attempt to get young people vaccinated.

Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, a critical care and palliative care physician at the Ottawa Hospital, isn’t sure that Canada needs vaccine passports within its borders, according to Global News. "I think if we’re in a position where COVID becomes endemic, i.e., it’s low community spread, we can control it with our mass vaccination, we reduced hospitalizations as a result — You’ve got to ask yourself, what is the overall objective?" he said.

Jan De Silva, CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade is calling on the Ontario government to implement a vaccine passport system to restrict access to non-essential businesses to only fully vaccinated citizens. De Silva says the only way to feel safe and prevent more lockdowns is to require proof of vaccination to access large conferences and others activities like indoor dining. Some strip clubs have even announced they will ask for proof of vaccination.

"The EU as of July 1st has gone live with the digital pass, and the reason why we’re so pro using that tool is that we’ve worked so hard and our small businesses have gone through multiple lockdowns that have had a devastating affect to them," said De Silva according to the Toronto Star. "Now that we’ve got sufficient vaccine, it’s a way to start resuming a more normal form of day-to-day living."


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