Canada working on vaccine passport for international travel

Kareem El-Assal
Published: August 11, 2021

The Canadian government is working with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to introduce a pan-Canadian proof of vaccination credential.

The federal government expects the credential to be available early this fall.

At a press conference this afternoon, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino noted that the purpose of the credential is to make it easier for those in Canada to travel and to do so safely.

The credential (informally referred to as a "vaccine passport") will include the holder's vaccine history, vaccine type, date of vaccination, location of vaccination, among other information. This credential will allow those in Canada to travel more easily. The credential will be available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents.

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Canada's COVID-19 situation

Canada's COVID-19 situation has improved significantly in recent months which has resulted in less restrictions for Canadians and foreign nationals alike.

At home, provinces across the country have loosened their social distancing and other lockdown measures as case levels have declined while vaccination rates have increased. The opening up of Canada's society and economy has been resulting in a stronger recovery of jobs.

In recent days, Canada has been recording over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. This is cause for concern, as the country saw its daily levels fall below 400 in July. At the same time, it represents an improvement compared with the over 9,000 daily cases Canada reported in April. The overall decline in cases coincides with the increase in vaccinations. Over 80 per cent of Canada's 12-and-older population has received one vaccine dose while nearly 70 per cent have been fully vaccinated. As such, Mendicino noted in his remarks Canada has the highest vaccination rate among G20 nations.

Canada's improved pandemic outlook is leading the media to believe that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may call an election within the next week or so as he aims to obtain a new majority government.

Canada loosening travel restrictions

Canada has lifted most of its travel restrictions gradually, including through the easing of restrictions in late-June and earlier this week, with more restrictions to be lifted in September.

Generally speaking, approved immigrants, international students, temporary foreign workers, family members, and fully-vaccinated American tourists can now enter Canada.

In late June, Canada announced that all Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders are eligible to complete their immigration landing as long as their COPR is valid.

In July, Canada began to relax its quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated eligible travellers and lifted its hotel quarantine policy.

Earlier this week, Canada began to welcome fully-vaccinated American tourists. It will do the same for fully-vaccinated tourists from all countries beginning September 7.

On the other hand, some restrictions remain in place. The Canadian government has extended its ban on flights from India until September 21. It has also yet to give indication when it will allow unvaccinated tourists to enter the country.

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