O’Toole made the announcement during a press conference on Wednesday, saying that the Conservative Party would create a “vaccine passport” system to help Canadians prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. He said the system would be voluntary and secure, and would help Canadians travel safely and resume activities such as attending concerts or sporting events.
The Conservative leader also said that the party would work with provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians have access to vaccines, regardless of their income level or where they live. He added that the party would also invest in research into new treatments for COVID-19, including monoclonal antibodies.
O’Toole’s announcement follows similar promises from other federal party leaders, including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. All three parties have promised to create a national vaccine passport system if elected in October 2021.
The Conservative leader said he would also create a national sick leave program, provide tax credits to businesses that hire young people and expand the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for those who are unable to work due to the pandemic.
Oâ€™Toole said his party would also introduce a new “Canada Recovery Hiring Program” that would provide incentives for employers to hire workers who have been laid off or are facing reduced hours due to the pandemic. He said the program would be funded by a “temporary surtax” on large corporations.
He also said he would work with the provinces to ensure that all Canadians have access to the vaccine, regardless of their income or where they live. Oâ€™Toole has also promised to make sure that Canada is at the front of the line when it comes to securing vaccines for its citizens.
Jagmeet Singh has been a vocal advocate for a national system of pharmacare since he became leader of the NDP in 2017. He has argued that it is necessary to ensure that all Canadians have access to the medications they need, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2019, he introduced a motion in Parliament calling for the creation of a universal pharmacare program.
In 2020, Singh criticized Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for not implementing a national system sooner. He argued that Trudeau had promised to implement pharmacare during his 2015 election campaign but had failed to do so. Singh also accused Trudeau of failing to take action on other important issues such as climate change and Indigenous rights.
It could take up to a year for Ottawa to create a full federal program for vaccine passports, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, he said the government is looking at ways to certify provincial programs in the meantime.
Trudeau said that the government is currently working with provinces and territories on how best to implement vaccine passports, which would allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel more freely. He noted that it will be important for any system created to be secure and reliable.
The prime minister also said that the government is looking into how it can help businesses create their own systems for verifying proof of vaccination. He added that Ottawa will continue to work with provinces and territories on this issue as well as other measures related to reopening the economy safely.