Pressure mounts for COVID-19 vaccine passport in Canada
TORONTO -- Canada's largest insurance company Manulife announced this week it's increasing out of country medical benefits for anyone who has been fully vaccinated.
The problem? Canada still doesn't have any kind of vaccination passport or standardized document to show who has been vaccinated and who hasn't.
Martin Firestone with Travel Secure Inc. said many other countries have them in place and that “we are running terribly behind.”
A Leger survey released last month found the majority of Canadians are in favour of having some kind of document that shows if you've been fully vaccinated.
The survey asked if vaccine passports should be required for public gatherings, sporting events, restaurants and businesses and 61 per cent of Canadians supported the idea.
When asked about traveling domestically and internationally, 79 per cent of Canadians were in support of some type of vaccine passport.
Jason Allsopp, Vice-President of Leger said that, “at the end of the day Canadians are very strong on their support for a vaccine passport, certainly in relation to travel.”
Some type of vaccination documentation is already being used by the European Union, China and Israel. The United States does not have vaccination passports, but instead uses vaccination cards that Americans can use to show they are fully vaccinated.
Firestone says Manulife has increased out of country medical benefits from $1 million to $5 million for anyone who has been fully vaccinated, but he says there is currently no standard vaccination certificate to use as proof.
Firestone believes Canada needs to hurry up and get it done.
“You will need this to get on an airplane, to get into a country, to show to an insurance company that you are fully vaccinated and that you want the limits they are putting on the policy for you," said Firestone.
The federal government has said it is working on some type of vaccination travel document. Firestone said he believes many Canadians won't travel until they have one.
If Canada does develop a vaccination passport of some kind it's not clear how it would work. It could be a vaccination certificate, a bar code on your phone or even a stamp on your regular passport.