question period — Health

Proof of Vaccination--International Travel

November 25, 2021


[14:49]

Honourable senators, my question today is in response to concerns raised to me by a number of Nova Scotians, often when my husband and I were out for walks in our neighbourhood. This concern was expressed by many Canadians who, in good faith and on the advice of Health Canada, received their vaccinations at the earliest opportunity.

Many travel to the United States for business or pleasure during non-COVID times. As we moved closer to reopening our borders, there was much confusion and anxiety about whether the U.S. would allow Canadians with mixed vaccines into their country. It was a relief to many when the U.S. announced last month that, as of November 8, Canadians with any combination of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization will be considered fully vaccinated and able to enter the United States.

Senator Gold, my question is this: Does the same apply for other international destinations? Will the Government of Canada make this information readily available to the public? I guess the big thing is, will it be easy to find and understand? Because that’s extremely important.

In the Speech from the Throne this week, the government stated that it had ensured a standardized Canadian proof of vaccination for domestic and international use. Do all international jurisdictions recognize Canadian proof of vaccination? What, if any, vaccinations are or are not internationally recognized? Thank you.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)
[14:50]

Thank you for the series of questions, all of which are important and none of which I can answer with any precision today. With your indulgence, I will make inquiries and report back.

[14:50]

That would be great. I understand things are changing on the fly and many people are hoping it changes significantly before spring of 2022.

My supplementary question, Senator Gold, is this: Would you be able to provide us with clarity on the status of Canadians who are ineligible for vaccination in international travel? Specifically, I’m talking about younger Canadians who are under the age of 5. I know that after two years of the pandemic, many Canadian families are anxious to travel again as the world is beginning to open up.

More specifically, my question is about travelling to the United States with young children or grandchildren, as families start to consider spring travel. Will those under the age of 5 be allowed to enter the United States, as they will not be vaccinated?

Senator Gold
[14:51]

Thank you for your question. I will certainly make initial inquiries, and first and foremost, with regard to the situation in the United States. The hundreds of countries elsewhere in the world each have their own sovereign right to determine access and the conditions under which tourists and others can visit. To determine the situation around the world will take much longer, even for a government that is well known for finding answers very quickly. I will do my best to get as many answers as I can and as quickly as I can.