Sask. premier's dismissal of vaccine passports for events draws ire from resident, opposition

·3 min read
Opposition Leader Ryan Meili (right) disagrees with Premier Scott Moe's (left) decision to dismiss proof of vaccine at events. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press, Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)
Opposition Leader Ryan Meili (right) disagrees with Premier Scott Moe's (left) decision to dismiss proof of vaccine at events. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press, Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)

A Regina family man and occasional Riders fan is concerned that if Premier Scott Moe doesn't require proof of vaccinations to work at or attend events in the province as announced on Tuesday, then his family will be at risk.

Jason Hammond lives in Regina with his family, including a daughter that is too young to be vaccinated. He says attending events like Saskatchewan Roughrider games will be a constant risk.

"Yes it's outdoors which is safer, yes hopefully the majority of the people in the stadium are vaccinated — but just knowing that we could end up sitting in seats beside somebody who is unvaccinated … as a parent it just makes me nervous," Hammond said.

"With respect to provincial vaccine passports, or requirements to be vaccinated to attend certain events or work in certain areas of that nature, the government of Saskatchewan is not moving in that direction," Moe said Tuesday during the province's COVID-19 update.

Hammond says that while he's not a lawyer — and therefore unaware of the health privacy laws that Moe says are restricting the province from implementing immunizations cards — he's is frustrated that the province won't follow Manitoba's footsteps.

In June, Manitoba announced the province would distribute immunization cards to residents who had received two doses of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine. The card, delivered two weeks after their second dose, will allow them to avoid self-isolation in some cases and the Manitoba government plans to announce more benefits.

Fernand Detillieux/Radio-Canada
Fernand Detillieux/Radio-Canada

"The way I think of it, Rider games are community events, the Riders are a community team, so why is our government and why are the Riders sort of bowing to those people who have shown that they aren't even acting in the best interest of our community?" Hammond said.

Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said on Tuesday asking somebody for proof of COVID-19 vaccination would violate the province's Health Information Protection Act.

"Even giving your health card number is personal health information. Banks are not allowed to ask for your health card number and nobody else is for a form of ID," said Livingstone. "It is personal information, and so is vaccination status."

Saskatchewan New Democrat Party leader Ryan Meili says this decision is another instance where the Premier isn't taking the pandemic seriously.

"What a horrible thing it would be if the Roughrider games, something we all enjoy and love, became a source of a superspreader event and cost a bunch of people their lives," Meili said.

"Nobody wants to see that, let's do everything we can to make sure people can enjoy these things."

Submitted by Kelly Tiller
Submitted by Kelly Tiller

When asked how this decision could affect Premier Moe's political standing, Dr. Tom McIntosh, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of Regina, said he didn't think it would.

"But, it may have some public health resonance if it turns out one of these events, where we could have put in precautions, turns out to [create] further outbreaks and especially outbreaks of the variant."

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