CALGARY — With British Columbia’s announcement that it will implement vaccine passports midway through September, reaction on how something like that could work in Alberta is pouring in.
Deborah Yedlin with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce says all provinces should be on the same page when it comes to proof of vaccination.
“With one province going in the direction of vaccine passports, and the other province not choosing that road,” Yedlin says. “From a business standpoint that potentially creates some transactional friction, and that’s not helpful. We have a patchwork system, business to business, province to province.”
Yedlin also says Albertans are largely supportive of vaccine passports.
“A Leger poll that was done on August 19 said that 72 per cent of Albertans support a vaccine passport, that’s compared to 76 per cent of Canadians,” Yedlin says. “According to Angus Reid the majority of Canadians support vaccine passports to board commercial flights, travel internationally or attend a public gathering—and of course the federal government has basically said ‘if you want to travel, you need to be double-vaccinated.'”
Yedlin says several businesses like Calgary Sports and Entertainment are already implementing their own proof-of-vaccination policies.
“That should be telling the government that we need to move ahead and institute something that’s uniform,” Yedlin says. “So that there’s certainty for businesses and other organizations across the province.”
Adam Legge with the Business Council of Alberta says the way it is now is unfair to small businesses, he says the province is passing the buck.
“You know, maybe young teenagers in minimum-wage jobs [will be] having to oversee who has a vaccine passport and who doesn’t,” Legge says.
Legge says ideally, he’d like to see a federal vaccine passport program, that’s voluntary to opt into.
“So that we didn’t have these patchwork programs,” Legge says. “And it would be something that every Canadian could use consistently within Canada, and outside of Canada.”
Legge says he’d like to see the province change its mind on not pursuing vaccine passports.
“We believe the provincial government should make every allowance for any Albertan that wants to share their data into a system that would demonstrate they are fully vaccinated,” Legge says. “They should not be getting in the way of that.”
Legge adds any vaccine passport system should be optional.
“As much as not sharing your health data is a privacy issue,” Legge says. “The ability to opt-in and share that health data is a personal choice.”
– With files from Tom Ross