TORONTO — As Canada gears up to welcome back U.S. and international travellers, Toronto Pearson Airport and Vancouver International Airport will be directing arriving passengers into separate customs lines based on vaccination status.

“Passengers entering Canada from the U.S. or another international destination may be split into vaccinated and non/partially vaccinated queues prior to reaching Canada Customs,” says Beverly MacDonald, senior advisor of Communications at Toronto Pearson Airport, in an interview with CTV News. “We know the arrivals experience is different for passengers than it was in pre-pandemic times, and we appreciate passengers’ patience.”

This announcement comes on the heels of the federal government lifting the mandatory 14-day quarantine period and the airport-hotel quarantine. It’s a decision health experts and airport workers say will help streamline border clearance, as there are different entry requirements for vaccinated, non- or and partially vaccinated travellers. Currently, the separated lines at the airports don’t apply for domestic travellers.

The decision is re-igniting the debate about whether Canada should implement vaccine passports. Premier Doug Ford recently shut down the idea in a press conference.

“The answer is no, we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to have a split society,” says Premier Ford.

However, on July 21, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table issued a 21-page briefing on the potential of a provincial vaccine-certification program.

“On a short-term basis, vaccine certificates could enable the re-opening of high-risk settings sooner and/or at increased capacity…on a longer-term basis, vaccine certificates can serve as a verifiable, secure, standardized, accessible and portable records of immunization,” reads the document.


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