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Canada's COVID-19 travel vaccine passport: Canadian government reveals standardized, national proof of vaccination

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Travelers wearing face masks walk out of the arrivals hall at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on July 5, 2021. Starting from Monday, "fully vaccinated" Canadians and permanent residents can enter Canada without undergoing quarantine. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images)

UPDATE:

As of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and individuals registered under the Indian Act who take a trip for 72 hours or less will not have to complete a PCR test before re-entering Canada. This change applies to trips both by land and air.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that provincial and territorial governments across Canada will move forward with a standardized proof of COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

"All provinces and territories have confirmed that they will be moving forward with a standardized, national proof of vaccination," Trudeau said at a press conference on Thursday.

The prime minister highlighted that Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have put in for use of the national standard for proof of vaccination, with the remaining provinces "working hard to come online."

He added that the federal government will be "picking up the tab" for this standardized certificate. Canadians will not be able to board a plane for foreign or domestic travel without a the certificate starting on November 30.

The information on the proof of vaccination includes:

  • Full name and date of birth

  • A "neutral, factual" account COVID-19 vaccination history, including the dates of vaccination, the number of doses, vaccine type(s), product name(s) and lot number(s)

  • A QR code that includes the vaccination history and may include "additional information on the COVID-19 vaccines received"

The federal government has indicated that this proof of vaccination complies with the SMART Health Card standard, recognized by a number of international travel destinations.

Government of Canada
Canada COVID-19 proof of vaccination (Government of Canada)

How to get your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination?

If you live in a province or territory using a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system locally, like Ontario, you may already have the Canada COVID-19 proof of vaccination.

You have the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination if the document:

  • Says “COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination” at the top of the document

  • Includes the official logos for your province or territory, the Government of Canada (the word “Canada” with the Canadian flag above the last “a”)

  • Has your full name and date of birth

  • Shows your COVID-19 vaccination history, including the number of dose(s), the vaccine type(s), product name(s) and lot number, the date(s) you got your vaccination(s), a SMART Health Cards QR code

  • Is a bilingual document

This proof of vaccination document can be accessed as a file on a mobile device, computer or mobile wallet, or printed.

While the federal government highlights that "many international destinations may accept the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination," it is also stressed that "each destination makes the final decision on what they accept as proof of vaccination."

"There are many different standards being looked at around the world, Europe has one, we are using the SMART Health Card format that many places in the United States and elsewhere around the world are using," Trudeau said.

"We are very confident that this proof of vaccination certificate, that will be federally approved, issued by the provinces, with the health information for Canadians, is going to be accepted at destinations worldwide as proof of vaccination."

For Canadians returning to Canada, their proof of vaccination document can be uploaded to the ArriveCAN app up to 72 hours before arrival in the country.

Mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses

As of Nov. 8, Canadians vaccinated with any combination of authorized COVID-19 vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated by the U.S. government. 

"The Government of Canada is actively engaging other countries and international partners to encourage them to recognize those who have received mixed vaccine schedules or extended dose intervals as being fully vaccinated," information from the Canadian government reads.

"Initial outreach has focused on the ongoing exchange of technical and scientific information to advance this time-sensitive work."

Travel within Canada

Effective Oct. 30, individuals travelling within Canada, age 12 and older, need to show proof of vaccination to board a plane, train or cruise ship.

This includes air passengers flying on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from airports in Canada, rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, and marine passengers on non-essential passenger vessels, including cruise ships on voyages of 24 hours or more.

There will be a transition period where travellers will be able to go on their journey if they show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, until Nov. 30.

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