Fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to get a government document that will certify their COVID-19 vaccine history for the purpose of international travel.
The vaccine passport has been something that Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, wishes Ontario would roll out sooner rather than later.
“There seems to be a reluctance to adopt this, and I really don’t know why. I’ve looked at all the arguments, and to me, none of them hold water. The public is expecting this, and some are angry that it hasn’t happened yet,” said Colby.
He’s been advocating for a vaccine passport system for a while now and said it would only be for non-essential services.
“We’re not talking about denying anyone any kind of essential service; that’s not what’s on the table at all,” said Dr. Colby. “But to be able to go to crowded events, for example, a sporting or entertainment event.”
Colby said he looks at the restrictions Quebec is about to impose on unvaccinated people and wishes Ontario would do the same.
Quebec is set to establish a vaccine passport system on Sept. 1 that will keep unvaccinated patrons from non-essential establishments, such as restaurants, bars and gyms. Pilot projects are underway.
“I think Quebec is showing tremendous leadership and foresight with regard to those measures. I have expressed a similar view to the province,” said Colby.
While Ontario is not making vaccination mandatory for any jobs, Colby would like it required for healthcare workers. Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week it’s up to each business to decide if it wants to require proof of vaccination from employees.
“You would hope that with their level of training and knowledge that they would be lining up to get the vaccine, and the majority have, but there is still a substantial minority that remains unvaccinated,” said Colby. “To work in a place where you have the potential of infecting vulnerable people, then I think there is a very strong case and excellent legal precedent to make vaccination a condition of employment.”
At the moment, there is also nothing to stop a restaurant in Ontario from saying only vaccinated people can eat indoors while the unvaccinated have to dine outdoors.
Colby said the vaccine passports help with the issue of easily identifying who has been vaccinated.
“We’re hoping that science and sense prevail rather than coercive tactics, but one of the main problems associated with that is having a secure and private way to verify that you’ve been vaccinated,” said Colby.
The federal government has announced plans for a vaccination passport that will let Canadians travelling internationally show they’ve been vaccinated.
“There is increasing pressure on the province to do likewise,” said Colby.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News