MONTREAL – Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé says the smartphone applications that will run Quebec’s vaccine passport system will be available for download starting Wednesday.
“We are responding to a promise we made to Quebecers, that the vaccination would be a passport to freedom,” Dubé told reporters Tuesday in Montreal. “The vaccine passport is the balance we found to keep our economy opened while protecting people.”
Starting Sept. 1, residents over 13 years old will be required to show proof of vaccination to access businesses the government deems non-essential, such as gyms, bars and restaurants. Residents have been issued a quick response code by the government as vaccination proof.
Businesses will be required to download a QR code reader, while patrons will need to download an application and upload their QR code into it, or they can present a paper version of the code. The applications will be ready for download on Apple’s App Store Wednesday morning, while Android users will be able to access it later this week, Dubé said.
He said the pilot project for the vaccine passport that was tested over the last few weeks was successful. Some businesses that participated, however, were met with protests involving people against the passport system.
Dubé said the state “cannot let an entire population be held hostage in order to let a minority keep their privileges.”
People will face penalties, he added without offering details, for trying to reproduce fake QR codes.
Earlier Tuesday, Reno Bernier, who is responsible for information technology at the Health Department, told reporters during a technical briefing that the vaccine passport application won’t require an internet connection because the system won’t send, receive or save customer data.
Bernier said the application for businesses will only display the customer’s name, date of birth and whether they are considered adequately vaccinated.
British Columbia’s top doctor announced Monday the province is moving forward with a vaccine card that will allow for residents to access restaurants, clubs, sporting events and other activities.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says starting Sept. 13, a new order will require proof of having had a single dose of a vaccine to access certain social and recreational activities, as well as businesses.
After Oct. 24, Henry says entry to the same settings will require those 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated.
A recent poll suggests that most Canadians support a system requiring proof of vaccination to access some non-essential services as the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold.
Seventy-six per cent of respondents to the survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they would strongly or somewhat support a vaccine passport like the one Quebec is implementing.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said his province will not make vaccine passports mandatory. The Premier says he has “never believed in proof” and that “everyone gets their proof when they get the vaccination.”