Canada is rolling out a national standard for vaccination credentials that will be required for domestic and international travel, unifying the country’s patchwork of proof-of-immunization programs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.
The national proof of vaccination standard features a QR code and official logos from the federal government and the recipient’s province or territory. It will be available digitally and in hard copy.
Some of the country’s 10 provinces and its three territories, which are responsible for delivering health care, now offer digital vaccine cards with scannable QR codes and paper copies; others offer paper cards that can be digitized or displayed in phone photos. Regulations about what residents may be asked to present when they enter places like restaurants and movie theaters vary from province to province.
So far, five provinces — Saskatchewan; Ontario; Quebec; Nova Scotia; and Newfoundland and Labrador — as well as the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories have implemented what will now be the national standard, Mr. Trudeau said, adding that the remaining five provinces were expected to catch up soon.
“We will be picking up the tab for it at the federal level, to ensure that all provinces are able to do it,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters outside the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.
On Oct. 30, Canada is scheduled to begin enforcing requirements that anyone aged 12 or over who travels domestically by air, rail or cruise ship must be fully vaccinated. For a month, proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test will also be accepted, but immigration authorities warn the unvaccinated that “they risk not qualifying for travel as of Nov. 30.”
About 72 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, according to government figures.
No vaccine is yet authorized in Canada for children under 12, but Mr. Trudeau said on Thursday that Pfizer was seeking regulatory approval to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged 5 to 11.
“This is great news,” he said. “I can assure you that Health Canada is going to be examining attentively that submission.”
When the authorization is granted, the Canadian government would be scheduled to receive 2.9 million pediatric doses of the vaccine, Anita Anand, the minister of public services and procurement, said in an emailed statement.
Also Thursday, the government announced it was no longer advising against non-essential travel for fully vaccinated people.