How New York City's Vaccine Passport Compares To Quebec's

Like it or not, Quebec is about to get a vaccine passport for vaccinated Quebecers to use for non-essential activities. It's the first of its kind in Canada, but our American neighbours in New York City will be getting a similar proof of vaccination system.

As the population of New York City is almost as much as the population of Quebec, let's look at the two vaccination passport plans to see how they compare.

New York City

New York's Key to NYC system "will be a first-in-the-nation approach," according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who explained in an August 3 press conference that it would be required for both employees and customers only in three spaces: "indoor dining, indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities."

Unlike in Quebec, however, New York City residents will need only one vaccine dose to access these areas.

New Yorkers will have several ways to produce their vaccine proof. De Blasio said a physical copy of a vaccination card, the statewide Excelsior Pass and municipal NYC COVID SAFE app would be acceptable formats.

It's unclear if the Key to NYC will eventually take the form of a standardized pass or app — De Blasio didn't give a direct response when asked.

He called the solution an "easy approach."

"We've got three great ways for people to prove that they are vaccinated [...] And the idea is this one clear standard, you must be vaccinated to go to as a customer or to work in as an employee, any of those facilities, period," he said.

New York City will begin implementing the Key to NYC system on August 16. "Full enforcement and inspection" of the system will begin after an awareness campaign that's scheduled to end in mid-September.

De Blasio did not say what the punishment could be for people or businesses who refuse to screen employees and customers for the pass.

Quebec

Meanwhile, back at home, Quebec has so far distributed proofs of vaccination in two formats: a physical card given at the vaccination site and a downloadable QR code with your unique signature.

But the government suggests online that neither of these will function as the vaccine passport.

"The COVID-19 vaccination passport will be a free official document showing that the holder is protected against COVID-19," the government writes online.

It "is a tool that will interpret the information in your proof of vaccination to determine your level of protection against COVID-19. It will not show your personal information or information about your medical or vaccination history."

Officials have suggested a vaccine passport could be required to access a wide range of non-essential activities, well beyond those that will require the Key to NYC pass.

These include "high-risk activities with a limited number of people," like bars, restaurants, gyms and team sports, as well as "moderate- or low-risk activities with bigger groups of people," like entertainment venues, festivals and sports games at stadiums.

At a press conference on August 5, Premier François Legault said that while the full details on the vaccine passport will be revealed soon, the general idea is to give "certain privileges to those who have accepted the effort to go and get two doses."