COVID-19 | Are Vaccine Passports Controversial?

AuthorTuttle, Myrna El Fakhry

Vaccine passports could be required to travel, to access some locations, or to receive goods and services. What should we be concerned about?

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines speeds up in Canada and around the world, we are talking about going back to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. But to return to normal life, we might be asked by employers or service providers to show vaccine passports as proof we are vaccinated.

Canada still has not adopted any kind of vaccine passport program. The federal government has been talking about requiring a standardized document for international travel only. That leaves it up to the provinces to develop some sort of document for domestic use.

Vaccine passports could be required to travel, to access some locations, or to receive goods and services. According to a May 2021 survey, 61% of Canadians agreed that vaccine passports should be required for public gatherings, sporting events, restaurants and businesses. Also, 79% supported the idea of vaccine passports for domestic and international travel.

A vaccine passport could be a certificate--paper or digital--containing personal health information. Individuals could be required to show the certificate in exchange for goods, services or access to some venues. Therefore, vaccine passports--particularly digital ones--have raised privacy and discrimination concerns.

What is Privacy?

Privacy is a fundamental right that allows us to:

create barriers and manage boundaries to protect ourselves from unwarranted interference in our lives, which allows us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us. Privacy helps us establish boundaries to limit who has access to our bodies, places and things, as well as our communications and our information. Canadians' personal information--held by governments and private entities--is protected by:

* the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter) which does not mention privacy but provides protection under sections 7 and 8,

* the federal Privacy Act which manages the collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information within federal government jurisdiction,

* the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and

* provincial and territorial privacy laws, such as the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) in Alberta.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada stated:

Privacy is not simply a precious and often irreplaceable human...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT