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The 4 Things Employers Must Know About Vaccine Passports

“Vaccine passports” have become the burning topic of the day. They’ve also become a source of misconception. Here are 4 FAQs that I think can help clear up the confusion.

Q1. What is a vaccine passport?

A: A vaccine passport is a document, card or other item showing that a person must produce to show he/she got the COVID-19 vaccine. While some provinces are creating official cards or apps, passports can take many forms, including a signed doctor’s note, certificate from a vaccine provider or even a personal attestation.

Q2. What are vaccine passports required for?

A: Vaccine passports issued by the government may be required for international travel or to participate in certain kinds of non-essential public activities like attending a concert. Passports aren’t required for essential activities like food shopping or visiting a doctor.

Q3. Where are vaccine passports required?

A:  Five provinces—BC, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec—are now or soon will be requiring passports for non-essential public activities like going to sporting events and restaurants. The federal government also requires vaccine passports for international travel.

Q4. Can employers require vaccine passports?

A: Although courts have yet to weigh in, guidance from public health agencies and privacy and human rights commissions suggest that workplace vaccine passports are legal as a temporary health and safety measure, provided that there are no less restrictive alternatives available and employers take measures to respect employees’ privacy and rights to accommodations.