Legality of asking for vaccination status to have utilities investigated

Daniel Therrien says it’s not clear at the moment

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The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is investigating numerous complaints under the Privacy Act about whether the government can legally ask Canadians about their vaccination status in order to obtain public services.

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Daniel Therrien said it was unclear at this time according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“During the pandemic, is it reasonable for public health reasons for governments to require disclosure of this information? The question is not as clear as it seems,” Therrien said.

“We are investigating so I cannot provide a definitive conclusion, but we will as part of the investigations we are carrying out. This is exactly what we are studying.

Therrien says he has no advice for Canadians who are denied access to public office unless they disclose their health status.

“There is no doubt that disclosing medical information, including vaccine information, is an exceptional measure,” Therrien said.

“If it weren’t for the pandemic, obviously we wouldn’t have to provide information in restaurants or other places to gain access to those places. It is therefore exceptional, there is no doubt about it.

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The federal government has yet to introduce a written bill or regulation containing a legal text of vaccination orders.

“Immunization is not mandatory in Canada,” wrote Department of Health lawyers in a 1996 Canadian national report on immunization.

“It cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution.”

On May 19, the commissioner said in a statement that no current federal law allows governments to mandate COVID vaccinations.

He added that making vaccine passports mandatory for Canadians traveling or visiting public facilities would require “a newly enacted public health ordinance or law.”