On Tuesday, the premiers of the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta announced plans to end several Covid policies, including the divisive vaccine passports.
The two provinces will become the first to end the mandates that have been sparking protests all over the country.
Related: How vaccine passports are crushing freedom, privacy, and civil liberties
Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe said that the province’s vaccine passport mandate will be removed on February 14, while Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney said his province will remove the mandate on February 15 at midnight.
According to both premiers, the mandates have outlived their usefulness, and that it was time to heal the divisions caused by Covid measures.
“The program is no longer serving a useful and compelling purpose,” Mr. Kenney said on Tuesday. “I could not stand in front of Albertans tonight and justify a continuation of a program that has done its job.”
Moe said that the vaccine mandate would create “deep divisions,” adding that the mandate helped with the Delta strain, but its benefits do not outweigh the costs with the Omicron strain.
“It is time for us also to heal the divisions in our communities over vaccinations,” he said. Moe also asked residents not to judge each other on the basis of vaccination status or become adversarial to those who choose to continue wearing masks after the restrictions are lifted.
“Don’t lose a friend to COVID,” he implored.
Quebec also released a plan to lift most of the restrictions by mid-March. However, the vaccine and mask mandates will remain. Quebec’s Premier François Legault urged residents to decide for themselves about what is safe.
“We’ll have to learn how to live with the virus,” he said at a news conference in Quebec City. “What does that mean? It means that each person will have to evaluate their own risks. ‘I’m with how many people? How many have three doses? How many are over 60?’”