As a stopgap solution until a federal version is in place, a re-elected Liberal government will certify provincial vaccine passports for use in overseas travel, according to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
When asked for a date for the federal vaccine passport that his party has promised, Trudeau responded that any national program would have to follow initiatives at the provincial level because health information is the provinces’ responsibility.
“Before getting to a federal proof of vaccination to allow for international travel in something that could be aligned with, and perhaps inserted in, your Canadian passport, we have to work with the provinces anyway to get that information,” he said.
Several provinces have already created their own system, or plan to do so, and Trudeau said his party is working with them to “add a federal element of certification so you can show it at international airports” for travel purposes.
“It is an interim measure that will be very good for the next year or so, easily, while we prioritize the things that are going to keep Canadians safe,” he said
“We will be bringing in that more formalized version in the coming months or a year perhaps, but the priority is giving people a solid document that will allow them to do both things (travelling and accessing non-essential services domestically)
Last week, Trudeau announced a re-elected Liberal government would set aside $1 billion to help provinces seeking to create their own vaccine passports for domestic use.
The Liberal leader spoke Friday from a hangar at Canada’s busiest airport where he again touted his plan to make vaccination mandatory for travellers on planes, trains and cruise ships.
Mandatory immunization has been a hot topic in the election _ and one that the leaders addressed in Thursday night’s French-language debate.
Trudeau said he won’t force anyone to get a COVID-19 shot, but plans to restrict the privileges of those who refuse to get one without a medical reason.
Also Friday, Trudeau said he expects Canadian Blood Services to soon overturn a discriminatory policy that prevents many gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
The Liberals first made the promise to overturn the ban during their successful 2015 campaign, but it isn’t mentioned in the party’s re-election platform this year.
Canada introduced a lifetime ban for gay men in 1992 and in 2013 changed it so blood would be accepted from a man who abstained from sex with another man for at least five years.
The waiting period then dropped to one year, and became three months in 2019.
Trudeau blamed the delay on cuts made by the previous Conservative government, claiming that the independent blood-donation organization lacked the data needed to make a final decision.
Canadian Blood Services recently announced that by the end of 2021, it will recommend to Health Canada that the waiting time be eliminated and that all donors be subjected to sexual behavior screening.
It reaffirmed this intention in a statement on Friday, stating that going through Health Canada’s clearance process and then implementing the change will take time.
Source_ The Canadian Press