Most countries, at least on paper, guarantee equality to all citizens, which is what makes discriminating against those who have not received the Covid vaccine by denying them entry into some venues or preventing them from engaging in certain activities without showing an app such a contentious and divisive move.
Beside the potential to introduce discrimination, other controversial topics around the subject of vaccine “passports” or certificates have to do with confidentiality of medical data, and in Canada, privacy commissioners on both federal and provincial level have already made their concerns known, as have a number of rights groups, like Amnesty International.
But Toronto Mayor John Tory, who floated the idea during a TV appearance on Wednesday, later went on to say that he had “absolutely no idea whatsoever what the controversy is about here.”
Tory wants the provincial authorities in Ontario, rather than Toronto, to come up with a vaccine passport. This hard-line Covid policy isn't at odds with what the mayor's been up to the last year or so, during which reports say Toronto's been under the longest lockdown anywhere in the world, including by preventing people from eating indoors in restaurants for more than 400 days.
Before expressing his bafflement as to why anybody would consider Covid passports controversial, Tory spoke for the CP24 broadcaster and didn't appear to be ready to discuss the “if,” but only the “how” of it all. Hence he identified the Ontario government as best equipped to develop a system that would require proof of vaccination from people.
“The province has all of the records in their system of exactly who got vaccinated, where and when and how many times,” he said.
However, judging by Ontario's Chief Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore, the province is not ready to do such a thing. He described Covid passports as something that isn't necessary “at this time” and also something not currently considered by Ontario's government.
More than that, Ontario officials seemed to be further shifting responsibility for such a controversial move by suggesting it was one that would ultimately have to be made by the federal government.