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Sunday,  July 21, 2024 10:09 AM 

Canadians might be able to travel internationally by summer, Trudeau says

Canadians might be able to travel internationally by summer, Trudeau says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 4, 2021.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

If everything goes according to plan – and that’s a big if – Canadians could begin travelling internationally by this summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told journalists on Tuesday (May 4).

Trudeau’s remarks came on the same day the federal government announced that Moderna's next shipment of one million doses will now arrive in Canada on Wednesday (May 5) –  one week ahead of schedule.

Canada expects to get 92 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna by the end of September, which is 18 million more than it needs to give two doses to every Canadian who wants a shot.

READ MORE: Vaccine certificates “to be expected” amid the pandemic, Trudeau says

With that, Trudeau said Canadians might be able to start travelling out of country again by this summer “if everything goes well.”

But that is not a conversation for today, Trudeau stressed.

“We are all hopeful we’ll be able to get back to normal in the coming months and start travelling again. But the reality is [that] we’re not there yet,” the Prime Minister said. “We’re still very much in a third wave. We still need to get more people vaccinated across this country and get those numbers down.”

As of May 4, more than 13,066,693 Canadians have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and 1,152,995 Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received both required doses, according to this national vaccine tracker. 

Preparing vaccine passports

Fresh details about Canada adapting vaccine certificates for international travel emerged over the weekend after Health Minister Patty Hajdu told CBC that the government is committed to developing a vaccine passport of some kind and that the feature may be added to the already-built ArriveCAN app.

READ MORE: Canadians strongly support vaccine passports for travel: Ipsos poll

"Canadians are going to want to travel and just like there have been changes in other kinds of travel requirements over the years as a result of a number of events, Canadians need to be prepared to be able to travel internationally. And we'll make sure that they are," Minister Hajdu said on Saturday (May 1).

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says a vaccine passport system may be added to the already-built ArriveCAN app. (file photo)

Trudeau, on Tuesday, took more questions about Canada’s intentions to introduce vaccine certificates that would require international travellers to prove they were vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the country.

He said Canada will be aligning its process with European countries that are pursuing a similar concept.

“We are now working with allies, particularly in Europe, on that. Ultimately, it’s up to every country on what requirement they expect from incoming travellers,” Trudeau said.

“It would make sense to align with partners around the world on some sort of proof of vaccination certification.”

Trudeau declined to comment on the policies of the United States, where vaccine passports haven’t been widely embraced.

READ MORE: IATA, ETC applaud EU Parliament vote on vaccine certificate

Last month, on April 6, the White House issued a statement announcing that it would “not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”

“There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” stated White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, adding how the government doesn’t want such certificates “used against people unfairly.”

Trudeau said it would be “ideal” if both Canada and the U.S. had similar travel measures, similar to the decision both countries made to close their shared land border to non-essential travel.  

But protecting Canadians comes first, Trudeau said, even if there isn’t “symmetry with other countries.”

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