Trudeau talks vaccine passports for travel at Pearson Airport in Mississauga

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Published September 3, 2021 at 4:08 pm

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — A re-elected Liberal government would certify provincial vaccine passports for use in international travel as an interim measure until a federal version is put in place, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Asked to lay out a timeline for the federal vaccine passport his party has promised to deliver, Trudeau, who spoke to reporters at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, said any national program would first have to involve work at the provincial level, since health information is the purview of provinces.

“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.

— with files from Mia Rabson and Jordan Press in Ottawa

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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