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Ottawa to reveal details about international COVID-19 vaccine passport today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to speak about the plan at 10 a.m. Thursday

Canada's international vaccine passport will likely rely on QR codes, much like the existing vaccine passports developed by several provinces.

Canada's international vaccine passport will likely rely on QR codes, much like the existing vaccine passports developed by several provinces.

Photo:  (Francis Ferland/Radio-Canada)


Ottawa plans to reveal details today about its forthcoming proof-of-vaccination system for international travel, senior government sources have confirmed to CBC News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce further details about the passport at 10 a.m. ET in Ottawa.

The sources with knowledge about the plan spoke on condition they weren't named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

A media advisory from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship — which has been tasked with implementing a proof-of-vaccination system for international travel — shows officials from that department will lead a technical briefing with media tomorrow morning, along with officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada, Indigenous Services Canada and Canada Border Services Agency.

The sources pointed to Ontario's recently-unveiled enhanced vaccine certificates  — which includes a QR code built to the SMART Health Card standard adopted by the federal government, and includes the Government of Canada word mark — as something that will also work for international travel.

WATCH | Ottawa to reveal details for international travel: 

It is not yet clear when vaccine certificates issued by other provinces and territories will be accepted for international travel.

The federal government has for months been working on developing an internationally recognized vaccine passport (new window), with the aim of having it ready for the public sometime this fall.

Current COVID-19 vaccination documents available in Canada aren't standardized for international travel, the federal government notes (new window).

Few countries have developed a widely recognized international vaccine passport system. European Union residents can access a Digital COVID Certificate, which is recognized for cross-border travel within the EU.

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra previously noted that any Canada-wide passport will have to be created in close cooperation with the provinces and territories, which are responsible for issuing proof of vaccination.

He said the federal government can help by developing a standardized proof-of-vaccination system that ultimately relies on data provided by the provinces and territories.

We're just working with the provinces on the format and making sure that all the required information will be available, Alghabra said on Oct. 10 during an interview on CBC's Rosemary Barton Live. (new window)

CBC News with files from Philip Ling