As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue and the numbers of those fully vaccinated increase, some regions in Canada and internationally are already starting to use or consider vaccine-based identification for certain services or to facilitate travel.
In Canada, Manitoba has begun issuing proof-of-immunization cards to those who are fully vaccinated in the province, which allows residents to skip quarantine requirements if returning from travel and gives them greater ability to visit loved ones in hospital and long-term care.
The demand has been so overwhelming that the government recently announced it would be pausing production of physical cards to catch up, although individuals can continue to register for digital and physical cards, with digital cards available for use immediately after an individual has been approved.
Meanwhile, Quebec has said that it will adopt some sort of vaccine passport system in the fall if the province is hit by a fourth wave of COVID-19. This would not occur until after Sept 1, the point at which eligible Quebecers will have had a chance to receive two doses of the vaccine. If a vaccine passport is used in the province, it would not be used to access public or essential services, but to limit access to activities such as going to gyms, concerts, bars, team sports, festivals or other activities deemed moderate to high risk.
On its website the Quebec government specifies that employers will not be able to make a vaccine passport a requirement for hiring employees.
Saskatchewan will not require proof of vaccination for access to events and venues, Premier Scott Moe announced at the end of June.
Alberta has said no to the concept as well. Premier Jason Kenney stated Monday at the Calgary Stampede that the province would not “facilitate or accept vaccine passports.”
In Ontario, no official plans have been announced, but the Toronto Region Board of Trade has called on the Ontario government to introduce a vaccine passport for non-essential business activities.
The federal government is working on some type of vaccine passport for international travel, but how this would work is not yet certain. In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that any policy would hopefully align with international allies.
Currently, those who are eligible to enter Canada can skip their quarantine, hotel stopover and testing requirement if they show proof of having received two doses of one of the vaccines approved in Canada, with the second dose having been administered at least 14 days before they arrived. In order to take advantage of this, travellers must upload proof of their vaccination to the app ArriveCAN at least 72 hours before they travel, and show the receipt to Canada border services upon arrival.
Vaccine passports have been a contentious topic.
From a public health standpoint, it might make sense to only allow those who have been fully vaccinated to attend things such as sporting events, or travel more widely, and it could be a good incentive for people to get their vaccines. But the concept of vaccine passports brings a whole host of privacy concerns regarding personal health information, as well as questions around the ethics of requiring vaccine confirmation for certain privileges.
Bioethicist Kerry Bowman, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, told CTV News Channel that the demand for proof-of-immunization cards in Manitoba may be a sign of fear on the part of the population, “that if they don’t have this, that they’re going to have really very restricted lives.
“There’s this anxiety that everyone’s going to need one. And I’m not sure we’re going to need any,” he added. “The last thing we need in this challenging, difficult world we live in is one more thing to divide people.”
Many Canadians are in favour of vaccine passports according to polls, with an Angus Reid Institute survey in May showing that 79 per cent of Canadians approved of a vaccine passport for international travel. However, in the same survey, only 55 per cent were in favour of showing proof of vaccination to access services like movies and restaurants.
Bowman believes we’re not at a stage where vaccine passports are necessary for the protection of the community.
“I think things have to be proportional,” he said. “I would argue it’s justified if we have a fourth wave that is profoundly serious and a tremendous threat to all of us. I truly hope that doesn’t happen.”
Just what is meant by “vaccine passport” isn’t always clear. Some digital or physical cards showing proof of vaccination that are in use across the globe are specifically for travel between countries, while others, like the ones planned for Quebec, have been for events and accessing specific spaces within a region.
In the state of New York, something called an Excelsior Pass allows participating businesses to scan an individual’s digital pass in order to see proof of vaccination.
Numerous states in the U.S. have actively banned the idea of requiring proof of vaccination to access specific services and events.
Across the pond, the European Union has introduced a version of a vaccine passport which seeks to ease movement between countries by allowing those who hold one to be exempt from quarantine or testing requirements when crossing a border into a participating country.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate should facilitate free movement inside the EU,” the European Commission’s website explains. “It will not be a pre-condition to free movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU. “
As of July 1, citizens and residents in the EU can apply through their national authorities to have a digital COVID-19 certificate, which comes with a QR code that can be scanned to provide information on whether the individual has been fully vaccinated, has recently received a negative test or has recovered from COVID-19.
The certificate can be used in all 27 member nations, as well as a few others, such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
Bowman pointed out that one wrinkle in using vaccine passports internationally is that because different countries have approved different vaccines, situations may emerge where fully vaccinated individuals have their travel complicated by the fact that they are not considered fully vaccinated in certain regions depending on the vaccine they received.
“I’ve already got issues now because of this,” he said, adding that he received AstraZeneca — a vaccine that has not been approved in regions such as the U.S.
One of his biggest concerns is the issue with privacy, saying that although “we’re being told that information would be minimal and surveillance would be non-existent,” we don’t know for sure if that would be the case.
“It absolutely looks like different provinces and different territories are going to do very different things,” he said.
Whether the concept of vaccine passports will come to mean one, standardized thing, or will spread to more regions, remains to be seen.
Prime Minister Trudeau pledges more aid and loans to Ukraine at G7 summit
SCHLOSS ELMAU, GERMANY — Canada is looking at developing new infrastructure to help other countries transition away from Russian oil and coal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday at the conclusion of the G7 summit in Germany focused on the conflict in Ukraine.
In their final communique for the meeting, the G7 leaders said they are working to make sure Russia does not exploit its position as an energy producer to profit from its aggression at the expense of vulnerable countries.
The conflict has squeezed energy markets in Europe and the security of the supply around the world.
Over the course of the three-day summit, the leaders agreed to consider a cap on the price of crude oil and petroleum from Russia, and even a comprehensive ban on Russian oil and coal.
“Canada obviously as an oil and gas producer is ensuring that in the short term we’re doing what we can to alleviate pressures,” Trudeau said at a news conference at the close of the summit.
“We’re also looking medium term at expanding some infrastructure, but in a way that hits that medium -term and -long-term goal of accelerating transition, not just off Russian oil and gas, but off of all our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The leaders agreed compromising on climate and biodiversity goals was not on the table to address the growing energy crisis.
The idea to ban Russian oil is still only in discussions, and would need to be implemented careful to mitigate the potential fallout for vulnerable countries that rely on Russia for power.
Trudeau said Canada remains determined to support Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“It’s important that the world doesn’t lose its attention and focus over what’s happening in Ukraine, we must and we will remain committed until Ukraine and democracy prevail,” Trudeau told a news conference.
He announced more money for Ukraine on Tuesday, including a $200-million loan through the International Monetary Fund.
In addition to the loan to the Ukrainian government, Canada is giving $75 million in humanitarian assistance to help with operations in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries. The aid will include the provision of in-kind food assistance, emergency cash and vouchers, protection, shelter and health services.
Earlier in the summit, Trudeau announced $52 million in agricultural aid including mobile grain storage equipment to increase grain storage capacity as well as help to provide speedy diagnostic testing and monitoring of animal diseases to allow for export certification.
“Our farmers typically face big challenges and have been proven to be inventive and creative. So we’ll bring this expertise to Ukraine to help as much as we can,” Trudeau said.
Canada is also contributing $15 million to help fund demining efforts and $9.7 million for those tracking human rights violations in Ukraine.
The leaders have also agreed to intensify their efforts to mitigate rising food prices and scarcity, which have been exacerbated as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
They plan to expand their resettlement programs to accommodate the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press
More than half of Canadians oppose Oath of Allegiance to the Queen
OTTAWA — Most people in Canada do not think people should have to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, according to a poll ahead of Canada Day.
A Leger poll for the Association of Canadian Studies found that 56 per cent of respondents did not agree with swearing allegiance to the Queen.
New Canadians have to swear an oath to the monarchy at citizenship ceremonies including a pledge to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors.”
Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said most people born in Canada were probably unaware that new Canadians had to swear an oath to be faithful to the Royal Family.
“If you ask Canadians about their identity, few would mention the monarchy,” he said.
The poll of 2,118 people earlier this month cannot be assigned a margin of error because online panels are not considered truly random samples.
While 58 per cent of those who responded are positively disposed toward the Queen, with only 28 per cent negatively disposed, Canadians are evenly divided — 40 per cent positively and 40 per cent negatively — in their view of the monarchy overall.
The poll asked whether, “as a Canadian, we should all agree to be faithful and bear true allegiance” to the Queen and her heirs.
Those who are very favourable toward the monarchy were more likely to approve of pledging allegiance.
Sixty per cent of men and 52 per cent of women who did the survey answered no. Opposition was stronger among Canadians aged 18-34 than those over the age of 55.
Almost three-quarters of people living in Quebec opposed the oath, compared to only 47 per cent in Alberta.
A large proportion of those polled — including 20 per cent of women — said they had no view or did not want to answer.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen as the head of state. She is represented federally by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, and at a provincial level by lieutenant-governors.
Any change to the position of the Queen or her representatives in Canada would need the unanimous consent of the House of Commons, the Senate and provincial legislatures.
Taking an oath of citizenship is the final step in becoming a Canadian citizen. Ceremonies take place across the country, with special ceremonies on Canada Day.
New Canadians must also promise to faithfully observe the laws of Canada.
Earlier this month, the Queen celebrated her platinum jubilee with celebrations in Canada, the U.K. and across the Commonwealth. She ascended the throne at age 27 in 1952 and is England’s longest-serving monarch.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.
Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press
How to play online casinos with minimal investment
If you walk into a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, you have to buy a minimum number of chips. Similarly, in online casinos, you need to deposit a minimum amount to begin playing. Some casinos have a minimum low deposit, known as the minimum deposit casinos that remain on top of the players’ list. A minimum deposit casino is the one that charges less than 10 units of any currency, be it euro (€), dollar ($), or pound (£).
Minimum deposit casinos are increasing in popularity as these allow players to experience the full benefits of high deposit casinos but at a lower risk. The gamers can experience new games without risking much money.
Now you might be wondering that as the operators are asking for less money, the minimum deposit casinos might not be as good. This is far from the truth as minimum deposit casinos offer some unique advantages, like:
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Busting the myths
Also, it’s a misconception that small deposit casinos do not offer good casino bonuses. On the contrary, a welcome bonus is standard with minimum deposit casinos, although you may have to deposit more than C$1 for the bonus. Free spins are also commonly offered, and you may get as many as 70 free spins for just a C$1 deposit! Moreover, you can expect no deposit bonuses from these casinos at times, so you don’t have to think about how much to deposit, awesome!
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The risk of loss remains the same
The risk of loss remains the same, whether you are playing for high stakes or low stakes. Similarly, the house edge, or the risk of losing in different casinos remains the same for different staking amounts. For example, the classic blackjack game carries a risk of 0.05. So, if you play blackjack on a C$1 minimum deposit casino, such as Caxino, you stand to win C$0.95 for a stake of $1. On the other hand, if you play blackjack for a higher stake in a high deposit casino, you will win C$95 for a stake of C$100.
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Best for the new games and new gamers
Gambling carries an element of risk. The more you play, the more are your chances of losing money. With minimum low deposit casinos, you can play more for less, and would be saved from blowing all your bankroll in a single session. Also, look at online reviews of the casinos by real users, and be careful about withdrawal requirements. Avoid casinos that have a low minimum deposit but high withdrawal requirements. You will certainly not like to lock your money because of the casino’s wagering requirements. You can play plenty of games on the low minimum deposit casinos without worrying that there is a lot of money that you can’t withdraw. You can have more fun and games playing for real money without risking too much. Minimum deposit casinos are best for those who are new to the world of online casinos and online gaming, and want to test the waters.
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