Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Friday that the federal government is working with the provinces to develop a national vaccine passport for international travel that’s expected to be ready sometime this fall.
Trudeau said while that plan is being developed, his government is working on a system involving the ArriveCan app that will be ready in the “coming weeks.”
“We are working on two tracks in terms of proof of vaccination for Canadians who wish to travel,” Trudeau said. “In the initial phase we are going to be working with the ArriveCan app in ways that people can upload an image of their proof of vaccination … so that border agents on their return to Canada can verify that they are fully vaccinated. That’s something we will have in place in the coming weeks.”
By the fall, Trudeau said he hoped to “establish a national certification of vaccination status.”
The prime minister said the national vaccine passport “will be easily accepted around the world for people who need to travel internationally.”
He also said the government is working with other countries on ensuring travellers who receive vaccines not approved in arriving countries are still able to safely enter.
“Having to demonstrate that you have been vaccinated has been a standard piece of international travel since international aviation began,” said Mike McNaney, president of the National Airlines Council of Canada, in an interview.
“We’ve been quite supportive of the government coming up with a policy and a mechanism on how it’s going to capture that data.”
There are yet other issues that need to be addressed, Trudeau said, including what to do about children under 12 for whom vaccines have not been approved. He suggested children could be subject to a repeated testing regime after arrival because having a two-week quarantine away from vaccinated parents may not be possible.
Trudeau didn’t say if a paper passport would be available, but earlier this week, the Canadian Snowbird Association raised concerns with the prospect of a digital passport, saying up to 10 per cent of snowbirds travel without mobile devices.
On Friday, the federal government announced that it was extending its border restrictions on non-essential international travel for another month.
The extended restrictions will include travel between Canada and the United States.
The previous order was set to expire on June 21, it will now expire on July 21.
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report