The question of whether Canada should issue its citizen’s vaccine passports is on politicians’ minds this spring.
Vaccine passports would allow Canadian citizens to move freely around the international world during the COVID-19 pandemic, which would be a blessing to many people. Privacy commissioners stress that governments must ensure there is a legal basis for requiring proof of vaccination. Their main concern is that if the passport is not developed and implemented properly, health information about participants might be compromised. They also say vaccine passports should be destroyed once the pandemic has ended or proof of vaccination is no longer necessary.
The Canadian government would have to either introduce new laws or amend existing laws to require proof of vaccination. These laws would have to specify the legal authority requesting a passport, whom the authority would be granted to, and the specific circumstances that the request could occur. A major drawback for private businesses is that consent cannot be required as a condition of service if it is to become sufficient authority; in other words, individuals must be able to make free choices.
Furthermore, we still do not know the true effectiveness of the vaccines. There is not yet enough evidence to support whether vaccines can decrease transmission rates, although members of the scientific community are indicating that this is imminent.
There are too many questions and not enough answers for me to jump on the vaccine passport bandwagon, but I believe that if it opens the borders to allow travel most people will agree just so they can finally plan that vacation.