The Canadian government might make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for some federally-regulated workplaces – including the air travel sector.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, addressing media in Montreal on Thursday (Aug. 5), said he is looking into whether or not it would be necessary to mandate vaccines for federal workers and for individuals working in some industries, such as banking, rail and air travel.
"I've asked the Clerk of the Privy Council, who is responsible for the federal public service, to look at mandatory vaccinations for federal employees. And we're also looking at federally-regulated industries, to encourage or perhaps even to mandate vaccinations for those industries," Trudeau said.
"It is time that the 80 per cent of Canadians who are doing their duty towards their neighbours, towards their loved ones by getting vaccinated, be able to get back more and more to normal, get back more and more to regular life. For that, those who are hesitant: It's time to get your vaccine. They're safe, they're effective.”
In regards to restarting travel, Trudeau has been upfront about the relaxing of Canada’s border rules, saying that any changes the government makes, at least in the beginning, will apply only to individuals who have had their full series of shots.
Fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada, since July 5, have been allowed to skip hotel and 14-day quarantine, for instance, pending they meet requirements outlined by The Public Health Agency of Canada.
Starting Aug. 9, Canada will reopen to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Quebec introducing vaccine passport
As for requiring proof of vaccination on the local level, the PM has left it up to each province to decide next steps.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, on Thursday, announced that his province will be introducing a vaccine passport as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise.
Under the new approach, fully vaccinated people in Quebec would have access to certain non-essential services, such as gyms and restaurants.
"People who have made the effort to get their two doses must be able to live a somewhat normal life," Legault said at a press conference on Thursday.
Legault said details on the new system will be released soon.
Canadians, in general, seem to support the idea of mandatory vaccinations: a recent poll from Nanos Research, commissioned by CTV News, shows 53 per cent support the idea, another 21 per cent somewhat support it, while 16 per cent oppose it, eight per cent somewhat oppose it, and two per cent remain unsure.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said discussions about introducing mandatory vaccines in Canada are underway, telling media on Thursday that officials are trying to determine the various risk levels in workplaces.
“But again, to emphasize that it is really important for workplaces, if we're going to have people come back to work, that everyone should get the vaccine,” Dr. Tam said, as reported by the Canadian Press.
The discussion comes after a White House official, earlier this week, told Reuters that the Biden administration is working on a U.S. reopening plan that will require most foreign visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.