Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced today that the Quebec government would begin issuing digital proof of vaccination, in another step towards the introduction of vaccine passports for Canadians.
Speaking at a press conference today, Premier Legault declared through a translator, “I'm following up with the electronic proof of vaccination will be, actually, a QR code that will be supplied by email to Quebecers.”
“So as of next Thursday, May 13, people who have already received one dose, or who will go get vaccinated, will receive, gradually, an email asking if they want to get electronic proof of vaccination — the QR code.”
A paper proof of vaccination, the premier said, will continue to be provided on-site after an individual receives a vaccination.
Anticipating questions regarding the likelihood of vaccine passports, Premier Legault added that “answering in advance, we have asked public health to do intensive work on this. So we will come back to you shortly to talk about the use of this proof of vaccines.”
The topic of vaccine passports has caused controversy as critics say it could cause unwarranted infringement on civil liberties. At one point, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was even critical of the concept of a passport for COVID vaccines, saying that he felt the system could raise issues of inequality.
“The idea of certificates of vaccination for domestic use does bring in questions of equity,” the prime minister said on March 12. “There are questions of fairness and justice. There could be discrimination.”
In May, Trudeau changed his tone.
Deferring to decisions made by Canada's allies on requiring a vaccine passport, Trudeau said that his government was “looking very carefully at it, hoping to align with allied countries.”
"We are looking very carefully at it, hoping to align with allied countries," he said.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet was also supportive of vaccine proof, saying that “we should recognize the jurisdiction of every country or territory to define what is a safe vaccination or not,” adding that the country could then “allow the circulation of people who carry proof of that.”
Quebec has reported just under 355,000 cases of COVID-19, the second highest total by province in Canada, though it's recorded the highest number of deaths at nearly 11,000. The province has been under a strict lockdown, which includes a curfew, for several months.