Canadian Human Rights Commission weighs in on vaccine passports

Canadian Human Rights Commission weighs in on vaccine passports

By Natasha Bulowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Canadian Human Rights Commission confirms it has engaged in “informal discussions” about vaccine passports with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at a time when experts and advocates are debating how to safely reopen Canada’s borders and economy while respecting privacy and human rights.

It’s a complicated issue, and one the commission will be watching closely to assess the human rights at play, said Sue Butchart, manager of policy at the human rights commission.

“Because vaccine passports are just beginning to be implemented, we still don’t know all the scenarios that might arise.”

One example she cites is equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and “whether requirements for a passport might potentially discriminate on the basis of disability or religious belief.”

The commission did not disclose any other information about its role in consultations.

This information comes from an ongoing access-to-information request filed by Canada’s National Observer for a briefing note titled, “Summary of engagement on vaccine passports 2021-03-23.”

The office of the privacy commissioner responded to the request, saying an extension until the end of September was claimed for the briefing note because it is “consulting with government institutions” and the file “will be released once all consultations have been completed.”

When asked about the long timeline, the office said some departments may take longer than others to review the records sent for consultation and that as soon as all the responses have been received, the records will be released.

This item is reprinted with permission from the National Observer. For the complete article, click HERE

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