Question Period: Proof of Vaccination—International Travel

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Hon. Jane Cordy: Senator Gold, last week I received your response — or I guess it was the minister’s response — to my questions from November 25 and December 15 regarding clarification on vaccine status and travelling internationally. We know, and it was reiterated in your response to my questions, that the Government of Canada adjusted its travel health notice from a level 3 to a level 2, meaning the government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes.

As government recommendations are lifting and we’re now moving into warmer weather, Canadians are beginning to make travel arrangements again. However, the same concerns and uncertainty I raised in my previous questions exist regarding vaccination status and the types of vaccinations, specifically mixed vaccinations, which will be accepted in other jurisdictions.

I completely understand, as stated in your response or the response of the minister from last week, that every country has the sovereign right to decide their own entry restrictions and border measures. However, in the same response, I was given a rather vague answer that, “Canada has successfully engaged other countries to recognize Canadians who have received mixed vaccine schedules as being fully vaccinated.”

Senator Gold, with which countries have Canada successfully engaged to recognize mixed vaccinations? Will the Government of Canada make this information readily available to the public?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you. That’s a fair question. I don’t know which countries have been engaged nor which engagements have been successful nor, frankly, whether or not that list will be published, updated or both. I will make inquiries, and I hope to get you an answer as quickly as I can.

Senator Cordy: Thank you, Senator Gold. I will quote another sentence or two from the response that I received:

The Government of Canada respects the sovereign right of other countries to decide their travel restrictions and border measures and will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated travel advice to Canadians.

We all acknowledge that every country has their responsibility and the right to make their own decisions. It’s easy to just tell Canadians to contact the country of destination, but Canadians look to their own government first to find that information. If I were travelling, I would go to the Government of Canada website before I would go to the website of the country to which I am travelling.

If the government is telling us that they have successfully negotiated with other countries, then they should be able to share this information with the public.

My question of you is, would you remind the government that travel information and vaccine requirements must be easy to understand for Canadians and the information must be easily accessible on the Canadian website?

Senator Gold: I will certainly do so. Thank you.

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