Since Ontario’s vaccine passport inception last week, it has caused a lot of chaos and confusion for both business owners and patrons alike.
Matthew Percy, catering manager at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, says it’s often the businesses who end up dealing the short end of the stick.
“I think for people who are in other workplaces where the vaccine passports just rolled out, there’s a lot of chaos,” Percy says. “I think a lot of people are confused about the logistics of it. And I think that ultimately often falls to somebody who’s not really qualified to deal with the blowback that may occur at the door. If somebody doesn’t like the policy, it’s often a student employee who’s the host or hostess (dealing with that).”
Percy says he wants to see the re-elected minority Liberal government and provincial governments working together, especially when it comes to implementing the vaccine passport.
“I think they really need to focus on working with the provinces to create a universal Canadian health care passport,” he says. “Although each province has jurisdiction over health care in their own provinces …. you hear stories of people coming from B.C. and them sharing their vaccine passports, and they’re not being accepted in Ontario… I think there needs to be perhaps a national vaccine passport system built in. Or the federal government needs to work with the provinces to create a system that will be accepted province to province.”
Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s first task is implementing a rule requiring most commercial travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Details have yet to be released around how the mandate will apply to domestic air and train travelers. The transport minister’s office says the deadline of the end of October still stands, with the government set to discuss the policy with stakeholders, bargaining agents and those in the transportation sector.
Those 12 and older who are planning a trip soon should make sure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Otherwise, they won’t be allowed to travel in Canada by train or air.
As for the results of the election, it’s garnered mixed reactions across the country.
A new poll by Leger suggests 12 per cent of respondents are angry with last week’s election outcome. Ten per cent of respondents said they are happy with the outcome and 24 per cent said they are comfortable with the outcome. Nine per cent said they prefer a minority government in any case and 14 per cent said they’re indifferent.
The final election results showed the Liberals claiming 159 seats while the Conservatives held 119 seats. The remaining seats in the next Parliament will be held by the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Quebec-based separatist party Bloc Quebecois.
“I personally was open to seeing some change in the election, perhaps another party in control,” Percy says. “I thought that there would be clearer support for one party or another. I was hoping to see some change and I was hoping to see something perhaps different from what we saw before the election, but we ended up with pretty much the same thing.”
While the result is still the same, Percy says it’s giving the chance for the Liberal government to continue to work collaboratively going forward.
“It’s reassuring they came back with the minority because it means that they have to continue working with the other parties,” he says. “I think the fact is there’s very little change from before the election and therefore, it is reassuring that they will probably come back with the same kind of mandate moving forward.”
One of the things Percy also wants to see the federal government work toward is more support for smaller businesses.
“As places open up, small businesses continue to need help. The wage subsidy program that the federal government introduced was a huge help for our workplace and I would hope that they would continue that.”
Percy says government income support like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), later transitioned to the Canada Response Benefit (CRB), can be a double-edged sword. It can help out a lot of people but also inhibit people from going back into the workplace.
Percy also wants to see all federal parties tackle issues like rebuilding the country’s economy, pandemic relief and climate change moving forward.