Government officials say more needs to be considered regarding possible vaccine passports

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Published May 20, 2021 at 12:41 am

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Are you concerned about a vaccine passport?

Government officials believe, if a vaccine passport is implemented, appropriate considerations must be made regarding its use and impact on citizens’ rights.

While vaccine passports could allow Canadians to gather and travel again—Ontario is currently in the midst of the longest lockdown on the continent—it would also require individuals to disclose personal health information about their vaccine or immunity status in order to access certain services, such as dining at restaurants, or attending concerts or sporting events.

According to the federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners, a vaccine passport would be an infringement on civil rights, and must be carefully considered before being implemented.

“Vaccine passports must be developed and implemented in compliance with applicable privacy laws.  They should also incorporate privacy best practices in order to achieve the highest level of privacy protection commensurate with the sensitivity of the personal health information that will be collected, used or disclosed,” reads a joint statement from the commissioners, and the ombuds of Manitoba and New Brunswick.

Additionally, the government officials believe every context in which the passports will be used must be examined for their necessity, proportionality, and effectiveness.

“Vaccine passports need to be shown to be necessary to achieve the intended public health purpose; they need to be effective in meeting that purpose; and the privacy risks must be proportionate to the purpose, i.e. the minimum necessary to achieve it,” the statement continues.

Moreover, officials specify that these passports—should they be implemented—should only be used during the pandemic, and should be discontinued and destroyed after it is declared over.

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