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Transport Minister Omar Alghabra takes part in a news conference in Ottawa, on Jan. 15, 2020.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he cannot yet commit to a date – or COVID-19 vaccination rate benchmarks – for when so-called vaccine passports will allow Canada to ease travel restrictions.

Speaking at a virtual news conference today, he says decisions around the hotel quarantine for air passengers and eventual reopening of the border will hinge on public health advice and unspecified “data and evidence” tied to the pandemic.

Alghabra says the travel and aviation sectors will take off again “when it’s safe.”

Alghabra has stressed the need for a “common platform” to identify travellers’ vaccination status, saying today that he is working with G7 countries and the European Union to integrate vaccine certification into international travel in the months ahead.

The EU took a step toward relaxing travel rules for tourists from outside the 27-nation bloc Wednesday when ambassadors agreed on measures to allow in fully vaccinated visitors, though a date remains to be set.

The EU ambassadors also agreed to ease the criteria needed for nations to be considered COVID-19 safe and from which all tourists can travel, depending on their coronavirus and vaccination status.

With files from The Associated Press.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says as more Canadians receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, they can look forward to a summer of small outdoor gatherings such as barbecues, camping and picnics. She says in the fall, as more receive their second dose, Canadians can expect a return to indoor work, recreational activities and get-togethers.

The Canadian Press

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