Things must be different in Canada

What a strange video.

It makes perfect sense — if you’re asked to show proof of vaccination, just show them. I’ve got my vaccination card in my wallet right now. If you’re asked to put on a mask, put on a mask. Easy. I’ve always got one, and a spare in my pocket.

What’s disturbing is that I have never, not once, been asked to show that I’m vaccinated. We aren’t required to wear a mask anywhere in local businesses (I do, anyway), and even when the state had a mask mandate, I’d go to the store and see half the people running around maskless, and no one except me would ask them to put them on. A couple of times people made furious scenes when I pointed them at the signs.

Here’s Stevens County, Minnesota this month.

We had a big spike in cases a few weeks ago, and now it’s steadily rising. Does anyone care? Oh hell no. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to need advice on how to respond to a request to show my vaccination card, it’s about as necessary as being told I need to have a license to walk my dragon. These things are equally nonexistent in my community.


  1. James Fehlinger says

    I’ve got my vaccination card in my wallet right now.

    My vaccination card is not a convenient size for carrying
    around in a wallet. It’s about the size of the proof-of-insurance
    certificate I keep in the glove compartment of my car in a
    plastic pocket along with my car registration.

    So I leave the vaccination card at home. If I needed to
    present it to get in somewhere (and knew ahead of time
    that I’d need it) then I suppose I’d shove it in a pocket.
    That hasn’t happened yet.

    I hope that if, in the long run, people are going to need
    national vaccination IDs, that they’re made available in as
    convenient a form factor, and are as durable as, a driver’s license.

    And since I’m also one of those weird people who doesn’t
    have a smart phone, and doesn’t particularly want a smart
    phone, I hope that any such proof isn’t required to be in the
    form of a phone app. I can’t imagine it would be, at least
    in the U.S. — I would think there would be a (justified) outcry from
    both ends of the political spectrum if that were the case (talk
    about a digital divide!). But I can also imagine cases,
    like maybe involving international travel, where you might
    end up having to have a smart phone regardless.

  2. Ed Seedhouse says

    We’re doing pretty well in British Columbia, but there are still amazing numbers of idiots parading about protesting vaccinations and mask wearing. In the far North Peace River country the case load is still too high for the health infrastructure to handle and they ship their un-vaccinated victims of stupidity to the I.C.U.’s here on Vancouver Island. Geographically the Peace country is really a part of Alberta and apparently they are trying to live up to Alberta’s example.

    But Vancouver island is doing well, with even the worst part having no more than 29 cases daily for 100,000 people. Here in Victoria where I live the rate is 6 per 100K.

    Our fully vaccinated rate in Greater Victoria is around 90% and everyone wears masks indoors without complaint. Vancouver Island is the most left leaning part of the province. Surely that’s merely a coincidence don’t you think?

  3. James Fehlinger says

    BTW, since at least sometime last night, Google News has been
    recommending, in its “Health” department, an anti-vaccine article:

    …from a Web site called “American Thinker” — apparently, a right-wing
    site promoting conspiracy theories including the 2020 election
    “fraud” nonsense.

    I wonder if a Google AI selected this article, or if a
    Google employee is being naughty.


  4. Ed Seedhouse says

    @1: My vaccine “card” is a .png file on my smartphone but the government will print it out and send you a card in the mail if you don’t mind waiting a week or two. Or you can download the file into your home computer and print it out if you have a colour printer.

  5. ShowMetheData says

    End of September
    US Deaths 691,697 = 2,107.29/1M
    Canada 27,875 = 741.57/1M

    Extrapolated Canadian Deaths wrt U.S. Population
    8.73 x 27,875 = 243,350 deaths

    With Canadian attitudes, the U.S. would’ve had 448,350 fewer deaths
    = U.S. failure

  6. chigau (違う) says

    I have several government-issued proof of vaccination cards. The most recent is a 6×9 cm QR code for which very few places have the reader.

  7. numerobis says

    ShowMetheData: that’s an easy extrapolation but it leaves a vast overestimate. If the US had been less fucked up, Canada would have had to do better. As is, a lot of politicians could defend their poor outcomes by pointing to the US and how much better we’re doing than they are. Also, a lot of the first wave came directly from the US.

  8. numerobis says

    chigau: how do few places have a reader for a QR code? It’s just a smartphone that you need. Restaurateurs normally bitch and moan about everything but there’s been nary a peep about the rollout in Quebec.

    I ended up printing mine: it’s quicker to grab it + my ID out of my wallet than to futz with an app on my phone and then also get my ID out of my wallet. Plus my phone is old and broken.

  9. billseymour says

    I’m repeatedly flabbergasted by folks who refuse the vaccine (except for medical reasons), and who can’t even be bothered to do something as simple as putting on a mask.  I’m tempted to think of it as a tribal marker; but I was reminded recently on some blog (which I can’t find and so can’t give a proper citation) that anti-vax sentiment predates COVID and exists on both the left and the right (although, as with many such things, Republicans crank it up to eleven).  I’m totally clueless as to where this attitude is coming from.

    We’re currently having arguments about mask mandates in various school board meetings around the St. Louis area.  WTF?  The arguments are about “personal freedom” (as if “American values” were congruent with my personal convenience).  Seriously?  I just don’t get it.

  10. whheydt says

    The problem with carrying the–paper–card all the time is wear and tear. There is, however, a really cheap solution. The CDC cards are 3″ x 4″, which, conveniently enough is one of the two standard sizes for the name badges used for many conventions.
    So, to protect your vaccination card, all you need is a standard vinyl name badge holder. If you start with one that pins on, you can remove the pin. My preferred style is “top loading”. The card fits snugly and won’t fall out.
    If you don’t have any old badges/badge holders around, just find someone who helps run a convention and ask them. Somebody from the con committee (probably whoever runs ConReg) is likely to have some them can spare. (In the quantities I get them–up to 2000 at a time–the ones I use are $0.19 each. So don’t go out on EBay or Etsy and pay $5.)

  11. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    I must admit, an app or QR code is a little worrisome. It’s not worth freaking out about, but that could be a privacy intrusion.

    But it is very telling that people who will happily accept having to show ID to buy cigarettes or comply with the cops won’t accept having to show another piece of paper.

  12. Kevin Karplus says

    The US vaccination cards are a very bad design, being too large for wallet. I ended up doing what others here have done: getting the QR code for the state record (California) and the vaccination card and putting both as photos on my phone (Google had another way of putting the QR code on the phone, but it went away after a day—a totally useless piece of incompetence from Google). The only time I’ve been asked to show the proof is for an indoor theater performance on Sept 19 (which was less than half full—the old folks who go to theater have been extra cautious and most were not ready for a return to indoor theater even with required masking and vax requirements—even my wife did not go).

    I live in an area with about 8.6 cases/day/100,000, not Stevens County’s 72, but our case rate is higher than the surrounding counties, because we have a large tourist industry and the local health officer jumped the gun on removing the indoor mask mandate—the surrounding counties still have indoor mask mandates. The locals still almost all wear masks when shopping, and most stores still require them.

  13. davidc1 says

    @8 It started with that English git who wrote a book about the so called dangers of the MMR jab for children .

  14. anthrosciguy says

    Our fully vaccinated rate in Greater Victoria is around 90% and everyone wears masks indoors without complaint.

    And a lot of people wearing them on the street, especially downtown where there’s more people. Makes one comfortable. Plus, with the weather getting colder it’s often cozier wearing one.

    That made me wonder; when I was a kid and hiked in the winter in Minnesota my gear included a balaclava and scarf which would eventually get clogged with ice, requiring the “whip it off and beat it on the nearest tree or rock” technique to clear it off. How’s this work with masks? (it doesn’t take long for things to freeze in a typical Minnesota winter)

  15. cartomancer says

    The lack of concern I see here in England is rather worrying too. Theoretically people on public transport are still required to wear masks, but somewhere between a quarter and half of my fellow passengers don’t. Sometimes even the odd staff member does not (the London Tube is on the worse end, overland rail slightly better, local buses best of all though still far from perfect). My local corner shop has a sign saying “please wear a mask if at all possible”, and again maybe a third to a half of fellow customers don’t.

    About the only place I’ve been in recent weeks where masking is universal is the hospital (and I had to wait 11 hours at A&E when I passed a gallstone, thanks to the backlog Covid has created and the strain it has put on our National Health Service). The hospital did ask me for my vaccination status, although it did not insist on seeing proof (the NHS keeps records I suppose, so they could easily check against my name).

    Apart from that, the only places that are asking to see proof of vaccination over here are the gay pubs, sauna clubs and cruise bars. For some reason the gay male community is rather ahead of the game when it comes to virus safety measures. I have not found a single other place that does so.

  16. consciousness razor says

    With Canadian attitudes, the U.S. would’ve had 448,350 fewer deaths
    = U.S. failure

    Pretty much. These are current figures from worldometer, no extrapolation required. Deaths, as a percentage of each population:
    0.22% of US vs. 0.07% of Canada
    That means approximately 511,000 fewer deaths, if it were 0.07% of the US instead. So, roughly 233,000 rather than our current total of 744,390.

    Confirmed cases are basically the same story, by the way:
    13.73% of US vs. 4.40% of Canada

    The charts for daily deaths in the US and Canada look fairly similar side by side, if you don’t pay attention to the scales obviously. The ones for daily new cases are different though: a pretty big wave of new cases in Canada in the spring, but not so many new deaths as a result.

  17. jrkrideau says

    Things must be different in Canada

    It is. I’m in Ontario. I doubt if a maskless person would get a metre inside the doors before staff and customers accosted them. Loud vocal objections would probably mean an interview with those nice people in blue.

    We lacked the orange gibbon and have a lot fewer nutcase preachers and politicians claiming conspiracies. In a few cases, said nutty preachers and politicians have been arrested for breaking quarantine laws. They had to work at it but at last they succeeded. Canadians tend not to see the Gov’t as the epitome of evil. It is there to help in crises.

    I’d go to the store and see half the people running around maskless

    I’m in Eastern Ontario. I doubt if a maskless person would get a metre inside the doors before staff and customers accosted them. Loud vocal objections would probably mean an interview with those nice people in blue.

    Masks in all indoor public areas with the exception that people “seated” in bars & restaurants may remove them. Indoor bars and restaurants have reduced capacity and strict distancing. Everyone is masked on public transit. Everyone vaccinated and masked at the main university when indoors. I and a lot of people will wear them on a crowded sidewalk.

    Vaccine passports needed for indoor dinning, gyms, theatres hockey games, and probably other things that I forget. By the end of the month we will need them for any air or rail travel in Canada. Not sure about intercity buses as they may be in provincial jurisdiction.

    I’ve been carting my paper passport—two 8.5X11 sheets of paper—around for the last 3(?) weeks and will try installing the Ontario app version tomorrow.

    For non-Canadians the current passports are issued provincially.The Canadian Gov’t is saying they hope to have one for international travel by the end of the month.

    As Ed Seedhouse @2 says we have some idiots protesting, though I think we may have fewer than BC. Generally, people seem to be going along.

    In my local health area, we seem to be holding at around 35–45 cases at any one time since the universities and college reopened. Over the summer we usually had 5–10 cases at any one time. The Public Health Unit has a population of 200k. As of Friday no one in the hospital or ICU*

    At the moment (well Friday) we have 84.1% of eligible persons with both shots, 88.6 with one shot.

    This does not mean the hospital has no Covid patients, just that if it does they are not from our public health unit’s area.

  18. says

    I was peeved earlier this week after 1.5 million AZ doses were made available, and all registered for within hours; I was at work and couldn’t get one. I got my first on July 28, which means I’m allowed to get the second. Taiwan has said that doubly vaccinated people can go without masks around new year, though I’ll probably still wear one. The vaccination cards here are about the size of a passport. I’m hoping they make a wallet sized version available.

    One of the biggest annoyances here is businesses. Legally, they’re supposed to offer both the scan code and sign in sheets, but many are refusing to provide paper as required. It happens a lot at high end stores. It sounds conspiratorial to say it’s intentional, but it’s the only poor who can’t get in because they don’t have smart phones or internet access.

    numerobis (#7) –

    If the US had been less fucked up, Canada would have had to do better. As is, a lot of politicians could defend their poor outcomes by pointing to the US and how much better we’re doing than they are. Also, a lot of the first wave came directly from the US.

    And permitted in because of incompetence and greed, too worried about “the economy”. I said from the beginning that murricans should never have been allowed to “transit” through, that they should fly to Alaska. Unfortunately, I’m only one voice.

  19. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    Oof. Failure by vaccination administrators to collect/report “county of residence” data means the CDC says only 23.9%/30.6k of Clarke county has at least one dose, while GA DPH dashboard says 49%/61.2k with at least one dose. 56.5k are fully vaxed and some of the 120k doses administered have been boosters for senior residents. ~128k residents in Clarke proper and ~200k residents in metro area including ~39k students and ~11k staff at UGA.

    Clarke has 100 confirmed cases in the last 7 days out of a whopping… 1734 tests. And 43 of those cases ended up as hospital admissions consuming ~20% of ICU beds. Much improved from the surge that started in July, but assholes will be assholes so we will definitely be getting more surges until the toxic individualists get vaxed one way or another.

  20. Ed Seedhouse says


    Victoria is south of the 49th parallel in an island with a warm current offshore. It does get coolish on occasion but mostly it’s only a few degrees below freezing in winter and iced up masks are unlikely to be a big problem. We also get a lot less rain than Seattle or Vancouver (B.C.)

    The worst thing about living in British Columbia is the horrible racist colonialist name of the place. Well, one of the worst.

  21. anthrosciguy says

    I wasn’t thinking about masks icing up here (it’s rarely that cold and not for long); I was just curious what people who live in really cold places experienced last year – problem? no problem? small prob with easy solution?

  22. numerobis says

    I wouldn’t say that Montreal is “really cold” exactly, especially not last year which was freakishly warm — barely got to -20 C at all — but I saw no problem at all. It was instead rather pleasant to cycle with a mask.

    Regardless in Canada we mostly don’t wear masks outdoors.

  23. jrkrideau says

    @ 14 davidc1

    that English git

    Andrew Wakefield, formerly Dr Andrew Wakefield until he was struck off. A truly evil man. His actions were bad but he has doubled down on it and is now an anti-vaxer hero.

    Wakefield capitalized on a long term anti-vax feeling that started roughly ten seconds after Edward Jenner announced his first results.

    James Gilray was cartooning on the subject back in the early 1800’s The Cow Pocks –or–The Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation. The US Continental Congress apparently forbade Washington vaccinating his troops during a smallpox epidemic. Wanhington went ahead anyway.

  24. jrkrideau says

    @ 19 Intransitive

    I said from the beginning that murricans should never have been allowed to “transit” through, that they should fly to Alaska.

    And I think there is a ferry from Seattle.

    A major problem in the East was that Québec had their spring school break about a week earlier than the Ont and the Atlantic provinces so a lot of Québecois were in Florida or perhaps New York City just before the extent of the outbreaks there became clear and before we closed the borders.

  25. sc_262299b298126f9a3cc21fb87cce79da says

    I’m in France at the moment. Need to display a pass sanitaire in the form of a QR code that is scanned by someone at the entrance to go into a cafe, restaurant, or museum. Little fuss about masks, although some people seemingly don’t understand why they are wearing them — noses poking out. I did have to research and plan my Saturday strolling around the paths of three scheduled anti-vax protest marches. Just read that there was a shooting at a nightclub last night after someone was refused entrance due to a phony health pass.

  26. says

    We had protestors in Alberta blocking hospitals and harassing hospital staff over vaccines and masks, but we are the province leading the country in Covid deaths so that shouldn’t be unexpected.

  27. petesh says

    Happy to report that when we attended an outdoor gig on Thursday we not only had to produce our vax (not tax, you “helpful” digital idiot) cards (a photo on the phone was acceptable) we also had to present our drivers licenses and the friendly bouncer carefully compared the dates of birth as well as the names. Not a complete guarantee of course but good to know they were careful. 3.5 days later, still could get felled but likely won’t.

  28. wzrd1 says

    I’m not about to drag my vaccination record card with me, due to wear and tear risks and general inconvenience. I’m less about to go to venues where I’d need the damned thing, as fake cards are a thing and god-king Trump championed them via his Ruskie propaganda networks, which also are mask free via the dishonor system.
    Fuck the lot of venues until honor returns or the virus goes extinct, neither of which seems likely anytime soon. One plus: Saves me money.

  29. susans says

    Here in California, visitors to the Kaiser hospitals must show proof of vaccination. A phone photo is sufficient.

  30. brightmoon says

    In NYC I’ve only been asked for my inconveniently sized vax card only once and I showed a photo with my ID. NewYorkers are pretty good about being vaxxed. They could be better but we’ve got antivaxxer morons too

  31. jrkrideau says

    @ 30 wzrd1
    The Ontario P of Vac is an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper. I downloaded the PDF and have it stuck in an envelope. If it gets tattered I’ll just print a new one. The Gov’t seems okay if you upload it to your phone or shrink it down as long an the code can be read.

    Th Ont Gov’t has done this well. Obviously they are keeping the Premier out of it.

  32. VolcanoMan says

    Here in Manitoba, 2 weeks after getting your second dose, you can apply for the card. When approved (it takes minutes), they send you a QR code which acts as your temporary (or permanent – some people don’t even bother with the physical card) passport for going to restaurants, sporting events, etc. The physical card takes longer to get (I applied for mine on the 8th of August…but didn’t receive it for almost 7 weeks. I had to phone and complain, and then, of course, I ended up with TWO cards because the resubmitted my request. But as I said, that wasn’t a problem for me because I had my proof.

    And the card itself is the size of a credit card, hard plastic, with your full name on one side, and a QR code (incidentally, NOT the same code as the digital version) on the other. Simple. You have to provide a driver’s license or other photo ID to confirm that it is YOUR card though.

    Anyway, I am no fan of our “progressive” Conservative government, and the fact that they came to their senses and made certain types of activities contingent on vaccination, was basically the bare minimum they could do. Nonetheless, it’s better than a lot of places. I just wish they’d start making front line workers who decline the vaccination PAY for their testing, and have it done on their own time, not during work hours. Those rapid tests aren’t cheap (couple hundred bucks a pop), and they require THREE per week. Given that there are 3,700 of them out there, the province is wasting over 2 million dollars A WEEK on tests. These people have made a choice, most of them for non-medical reasons (the ones who CAN’T get vaccinated, are obviously not included in my opinion here). It’s their choice to make, but ultimately, jobs have qualifications, and vaccination should be a default qualification for healthcare workers. If they want to opt out, it should be at their cost.

  33. whheydt says

    Re: VolcanoMan @ #34….
    As regards the refusniks–both in Canada and the US (and probably other places as well–I suspect that soon, if not already–proof of vaccination will be required before a job application will be taken seriously. So those holding out against vaccination for non-medical reasons are going to find it virtually impossible to change jobs and will likely find their current employment getting more and more restricted as time goes on.

  34. rydan says

    Here’s my problem. Some red hat stole my card on the bus a few months ago. And my healthcare provider refuses to give me a replacement card. Instead they would only print out every single vaccine I’ve ever received in my entire lifetime along with the dates and locations. There is other private information on this form. I really don’t want the woman at AMC taking my ticket stub seeing the rash of vaccinations I’ve received in the past 6 months in addition to my COVID vaccine. This is a real and legitimate privacy concern.