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Many Canadians support potential COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel: poll

According to data from the Angus Reid Institute, many Canadians are in favour of mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports for international travel.
According to data from the Angus Reid Institute, many Canadians are in favour of mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports for international travel. Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

Many Canadians support the idea of using COVID-19 vaccine passports in order to travel to the United States and other countries, according to a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute.

New data, released Wednesday, shows that 76 per cent of Canadians would support mandatory proof of vaccination to the U.S. and 79 per cent for other countries outside Canada’s southern border.

In both cases, one in five people would not support the idea.

Read more: Canadians could travel safely within the country this summer, but with conditions: experts

“There is a clear preference to reduce reliance on proof of vaccinations in domestic life when compared with international travel,” Angus Reid said in a press release Wednesday.

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“While a majority also agree that vaccine passports could be used at public places in their communities, like restaurants, malls and movie theatres, two-in-five oppose the idea – suggesting much more difficult implementation.”

Christine Niemczyk, director for CAA Saskatchewan corporate affairs, is part of a public affairs team gathering research around vaccine passports, one of many agencies in the country along with the federal government doing research.

Are Canadians ready for that? Will we go there?” Niemczyk asks.

There’s pros and cons. We need to do a little bit more research at our end to see if that’s something that we need to put forward and offer to Canadians for ease of travelling.”

Read more: Canada may see COVID-19 resurgence despite full vaccinations, experts say

According to Angus Reid, the findings show Canadians support opening up international travel with one significant exception.

“Those who travelled regularly before the pandemic are far more likely to say that the Canada-U.S. border should have been opened after the long-weekend compared to those who did not take any international trips from 2018 to 2020,” Angus Reid said.

“Overall, 48 per cent would keep the border closed until September, though the more they travelled pre-pandemic, the more likely Canadians are to say that it should be opened sooner.”

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Niemczyk said until something is finalized regarding vaccine passports, CAA will continue to educate those choosing to travel outside the country.

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What we’re doing is dealing with our clients on a one-to-one basis when they’re travelling and talking about what their destination plans are and how we can help,” Niemczyk said.

“We’re reminding them to look into the COVID-19 restrictions in place for not only where they’re departing from, but where they plan to go.”

The survey also showed that 59 per cent of Canadians are concerned about contracting COVID-19, down seven points from April.

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