VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says he backs the concept of so-called COVID-19 passports for international travellers, but he's not sold on a similar system for British Columbia residents.
The premier said Friday he's not convinced people in B.C. should be required to produce the same evidence to attend local events like sports or entertainment.
Horgan said he will support requirements that ensure international travellers produce a type of COVID-19 vaccine passport.
The issue of vaccine certificates was a topic of discussion between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's premiers at their weekly meeting, said Horgan.
"The prime minister and most premiers concluded that having a validation of vaccination is absolutely imperative for international travel, but for other activities like going to a sports event or to the theatre, strikes me as counterproductive at this point," Horgan said at a news conference.
B.C. will watch the situation as the pandemic continues and the prospect of implementing something domestically that gives proof of vaccine hasn't been completely ruled out, he said.
"We'll continue to monitor that," Horgan said. "We didn't close the door, nor did the prime minister, but we need to look at the practical implementation of programs like that."
Ravi Reetoo, engagement co-ordinator at the Victoria Film Festival, said he would rather know the province had completed its vaccination program than ask moviegoers to provide proof of being vaccinated.
He said once B.C.'s vaccination program is complete, there will be no need for provincial certificates.
The 10-day-long Victoria Film Festival screened its movies and events online last month because safety protocols didn't allow in-person viewing.
"It's safer for everybody involved, employees and people coming to the theatres," said Reetoo. "That makes more sense for everyone. There's nothing needed to show."
Health officials have said that everyone in the province will be able to get at least their first dose of vaccine by the end of July.
Trudeau expressed caution about the issue Friday, saying having to produce such a passport for everyday activities raises questions of equality.
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Canada is participating in international discussions about a rollout of "vaccine passports."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2021.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press