Canadian News Aug 16, 2021 7:45 PM EST

Trudeau Liberals banning unvaccinated Canadians from travel violates Privacy Act, says privacy commissioner

Compulsory disclosure of personal medical information to access public services is a breach of the Privacy Act, according to the federal Privacy Commissioner.

Trudeau Liberals banning unvaccinated Canadians from travel violates Privacy Act, says privacy commissioner
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB
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Compulsory disclosure of personal medical information to access public services is a breach of the Privacy Act, according to the federal Privacy Commissioner. Minister Omar Alghabra did not explain whether a cabinet order will be required to bypass the law, reports Blacklock's Reporter.

A re-elected Liberal cabinet would draft regulations banning unvaccinated travellers from domestic flights and VIA Rail trains by October 31, according to Transportation Minister Alghabra.

"We are requiring federally-regulated employers to adjust their rules to ensure a mandate is imposed by no later than the end of October,” said Minister Alghabra on Friday. "We will be working with employers on defining the new regulatory framework to ensure all employees and a number of travellers will be vaccinated by no later than the end of October."

More than six million eligible Canadians have declined Covid shots to date. "This is going to require a lot of discussion," said Alghabra.

No legal text of the regulations was disclosed. "Vaccine requirements will extend to certain travellers," said Alghabra.

"This includes commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations such as cruise ships," he said. "Of course, for those who are unable to be vaccinated, accommodations or alternative measures such as testing and screening may be determined in each situation."

Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc said 300,540 federal employees would also be asked to vaccinate but added that the cabinet would "build the details" later.

"What will happen to federal employees who choose not to be vaccinated?" asked a reporter. "We’re not focused on those questions," replied LeBlanc.

"This is an evolution of the government’s posture," he said. Trudeau, on January 14, said he opposed any mandatory vaccine program as extreme and divisive.

"I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country," said Trudeau. Trudeau remarked at a pandemic conference sponsored by the Reuters news agency.

"Will Canada consider requiring people in this country to have proof of vaccination?" asked Reuters. "I think it’s an interesting idea, but I think it is also fraught with challenges," he replied.

"We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible," he said. "We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice."

"There are medical reasons," said Trudeau. "There is a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community."

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