Media Releases Aug 12, 2021

Canadian Chamber says governments must get ahead of fourth wave right now, must use vaccine certification and rapid testing


(OTTAWA) – August 12, 2021 – Today Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement on the need for new and urgent strategies to avoid a fourth round of lockdowns as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“Despite Canada’s position as a global leader in vaccination rates, the spread of the Delta variant is accelerating, particularly among unvaccinated Canadians. Governments across the country need to recognize that we have already begun a fourth wave and must act urgently to avoid more across-the-board lockdowns. Canada needs a new approach, and we need better leadership from our elected officials.

More than 17 months into the pandemic, we now have significantly better tools to help us protect Canadians while avoiding the damaging lockdowns imposed in previous waves. However, these tools will only work if they are used, and too many governments are dragging their feet.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is asking governments to urgently undertake four actions within our grasp to avoid future lockdowns: 

1.      Digital vaccination certificates – Paper vaccination certificates are unsecure and inefficient. Provide the tools so businesses of all sizes, in every part of Canada, can use digital health credentials to protect employees and customers and mandate their use in clearly defined essential circumstances. Federal and provincial governments must also accelerate efforts to provide global vaccine credentials and secure the rights of fully vaccinated Canadians to travel. 

2.      Business operations and vaccination status disclosure – Businesses have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, but the current confused regulations stand in their way. We need governments to immediately provide labour law and Charter clarity on what business operators can require of employees and customers regarding vaccination status. Governments should lead by example and ensure public-facing officials are vaccinated. They must enable employers to require vaccinations for positions where it is necessary to protect their workforces and their customers.

3.      Rapid testing – Make available, and encourage the use of, rapid testing as part of a multi-layered approach to protect employees and customers. In instances where people may not be able to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, rapid screening may provide a workable alternative. 

4.      Vaccine uptake – Promote vaccination across Canada with incentives, including secure vaccination credentials and relaxed travel rules for fully vaccinated travellers.

Businesses, Canadians and governments have all worked hard to bring us close to the finish line. Another lockdown will be the final nail in the coffin for thousands of small businesses, especially in the hardest-hit sectors. We must make use of every option we have to protect these businesses and the Canadians they employ. Waiting to act until it is too late will cost lives, freedoms and businesses.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca