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Prime Minster Justin Trudeau

Federal, provincial governments working on vaccination certification, U.S. border to remain closed

Friday, June 18, 2021 @ 3:28 PM | By Amanda Jerome

Updates on COVID-19 vaccination shipments, travel restrictions and a vaccination certification plan poured out of Ottawa on June 18 with both the Prime Minister and federal ministers holding news conferences.

Speaking from Rideau Cottage, where he is isolating after travelling abroad for the G7 Leaders’ Summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “Canada is getting millions more Moderna doses brought forward from our summer shipment schedule into June and we’re locking in shipments for the first half of July.”

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

He noted the country will also be receiving “extra doses from the U.S.”

“Just like we surpassed our delivery numbers for the first quarter this year, we’re doing the same for the spring quarter. That will mean, for the end of June, as promised, we’ll be at well over 50 million doses total. And by the end of July, we’ll be over 68 million doses for Canadians,” he said.

Trudeau made specific mention of the outbreak occurring in the Kashechewan First Nation in Ontario, which has mostly impacted children and youth.

“At the end of May, we approved a deployment of the Canadian Rangers to help get the situation under control. Alongside the community, they’ve worked very hard to keep people safe,” he said.

“Even so,” he added, “cases remain far too high. That’s why we’re approving additional support from the Canadian Armed Forces for Kashechewan First Nation. The armed forces will be in the community until at least the end of this month, to help with everything from isolation sites to delivering food.”

In responding to questions from the press about a vaccination certification, the Prime Minister noted that the government is “working on two tracks in terms of proof of vaccination for Canadians who wish to travel.”

“First of all, in the initial phase, we’re going to be working with the ArriveCAN app in ways that people can upload an image of their paper proof of vaccination, or online proof of vaccination, so that border agents on their return to Canada can verify, indeed, that they are fully vaccinated. That’s something that we’ll have in place in the coming weeks,” he said.

“For the fall, in the medium term,” he added, “we are working with the provinces to establish a national certification of vaccination status that will be easily accepted around the world for people who need to travel internationally. And that will involve working together with the provinces because the provinces, of course, have your health data and vaccination status. We want to make sure we’re protecting both privacy and protecting jurisdictions but getting a clear federal notification that other countries can see we have and that you’ve been fully vaccinated,” he explained.

Earlier in the day, Bill Blair, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, announced that “our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.”

“As we have said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, Permanent Residents, and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada and will provide further details on Monday, June 21,” he added on Twitter.

Trudeau addressed questions from the press about the extension of the border closure by noting that although Canadians are looking forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible, “we’re not out of this pandemic yet.”

He stressed that the country is still seeing COVID-19 cases across the country and “we have to hit our targets of 75 per cent vaccinated with the first dose, [and] at least 20 per cent vaccinated with the second dose, before we can start loosening things up because even a fully vaccinated individual can pass on COVID-19 to someone who is not fully vaccinated.”

He noted that the government wants to make sure the communities that travelers are retuning to are not at risk.

 Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand

In a federal press conference, Anita Anand, the minister of public services and procurement, said that to date “three-quarters of eligible Canadians have received at least one dose, putting Canada first in the G7, the G20 and the OECD.”

“Second doses are quickly ramping up with hundreds of thousands being administered daily. Indeed, 400,000 second doses were administered across the country yesterday, approximately. Our government has delivered more that 35 million doses to the provinces and territories, 30 million doses administered already to Canadians,” she said.

Noting Trudeau’s announcement regarding vaccine deliveries from earlier in the day, Anand said “we are pleased to report that Canada’s allocation from Moderna for the month of July is 11 million doses.”

“What’s more, these deliveries will be front-end loaded with nearly five million of those doses actually arriving before the end of June and the balance to delivered in the first half of July. Along with the one million doses that we received from the United States Government yesterday, Canada will receive a total of more than 18 million doses of Moderna in this quarter, well over the approximately 12 million doses originally forecasted,” she added.

Anand stressed that Canada will “still receive 9.1 million doses of Pfizer in July, that has not changed.”

“However,” she added, “the deliveries in the first two weeks will be lower than originally planned,” but the deliveries in the last two weeks to make up the difference.

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