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What We Know So Far About Canada's Vaccine Passport & How It Compares To Quebec's

The feds announced a national vaccine passport for international travel.

Associate Editor
Canada's Vs. Quebec's Vaccine Passports

In a virtual news conference on Wednesday afternoon, federal ministers announced that Canada would be getting a COVID-19 vaccine passport system early this fall.

The news comes after Quebec released information about its own vaccination passport, which it's in the process of testing ahead of its target start date of September 1.

So what's the difference between the two vaccine passports? How will they intersect? While many details have yet to come, here's what we know so far.

Canada's document will be used for international travel

"We are working actively with the provinces and territories on a secure pan-Canadian proof of vaccination for international travel," said Marco Mendicino, Canada's minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

These credentials will have a common design across the country. They will include the holder's COVID-19 vaccination history including the vaccine types, dates and locations.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said it will likely be a digital credential, but other options will be available.

These credentials should be available to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents living in Canada if they're fully vaccinated according to the standards set by public health, said Minister Mendicino.

Minister Mendicino said this credential will allow other countries to assess whether travellers from Canada meet their public health requirements, but it does not guarantee entry into any foreign country.

Quebec's QR code will be used for non-essential activities & locales

The federal government is just focusing on international travel right now. Provinces and territories continue to have "primary jurisdiction" over the rules of reopening domestically, said Minister Mendicino.

Quebec plans to require vaccine passports for high-risk activities with a limited number of people, such as in the province's gyms, bars, restaurants and venues for team sports.

It also expects to require proof of vaccination for moderate- or low-risk activities in Quebec with bigger groups of people, such as arts and entertainment, festivals, major events, and games at sports stadiums.

Retail stores in Quebec are not expected to require proof of vaccination nor will essential services.

Quebec's vaccination passport will utilize the QR codes that the province has been sending to Quebecers as proof of vaccination. The Quebec government says the vaccine passport is "a tool that will interpret information from the QR code to determine your level of protection against COVID-19."

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted that the QR code reader app would be available to download for free during the week of August 23 on all mobile devices, and he also posted a preview of what the app will look like.

The feds and the provinces are working together

Minister LeBlanc said the federal government is working with the provinces and territories — which he called "the holders of the data" — to safely receive necessary information on which Canadians are immunized.

He said provinces and territories are welcome to collaborate with the federal government in order to use the vaccine credential in a domestic context within the province.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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