Vaccine passports are digital or physical documents that prove an individual’s vaccination status to a business or venue they are attempting to patronize.
Supporters say the passports offer an additional level of confidence for consumers and businesses that they’re as secure as they might be from possible exposure to COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Global News received an email statement from the province.
“For a lot of reasons, including those outside of travel, a provincial vaccine passport is being considered by the Government of Latest Brunswick as an option for controlling the spread of COVID-19 within the province,” said Gail Harding, department of health spokesperson.
“A vaccine passport could be developed in collaboration with the federal government. The priority is to create a standardized, and versatile, vaccination passport or record of immunization for Canadians and Latest Brunswickers who must travel, and that it’s developed and distributed as soon as possible.”
Coon said Latest Brunswick ought to be working with the opposite Atlantic provinces to make a system that’s as seamless and efficient as possible, but he said he’s not seeing any collaboration. Nova Scotia announced its intention to create a vaccine passport on Wednesday. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island also said this week a passport system is coming.
“If we don’t hang together, we hang alone,” Coon said. “I’m bored with this business about not cooperating with our neighbouring Maritime provinces on this public health emergency. We have to be working together. We have to be moving in lock-step to be certain that we’re protecting our population.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said most of its members support vaccine passports for international travel and access to large events.
But CFIB Atlantic senior director Louis-Philippe Gauthier said that support wavers as many businesses, already affected by the pandemic, are asked to potentially implement passport regulations.
That enforcement could include the necessity to hire staff and buy equipment, Gauthier said.
“Then the provincial government should provide liability indemnity for businesses from their customers if there’s ever a lawsuit or a human rights criticism,” Gauthier said. “And on top of it, if there’s any cost? Well, that ought to be on the federal government’s dime.”
Coon says Latest Brunswick lifted its pandemic-related restrictions too soon.
He took to Twitter on Tuesday to restate a call for the provincial government to reimpose a mask mandate and require isolation and testing for unvaccinated travellers to Latest Brunswick.