As COVID-19 vaccine mandates spread across the country, small business owners, it would appear, are split on how to handle passport requirements.

A new survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) indicates this country’s entrepreneurs generally support the use of a COVID-19 vaccine passport in certain settings, but these business owners are less than keen on having to enforce vaccine requirements for their staff and even more so, their customers.

Seventy-four per cent of small business owners polled by the CFIB said they support vaccine passports for international travel, while 65 per cent said they support a government-issued passport for events like concerts, festivals and sporting events.

Support drops off when it impacts their operations, as only 48 per cent would support a vaccine passport for their staff and only 37 per cent for their customers.

That said, support climbs back up to 55 per cent when the issue is framed as an alternative to another lockdown.

For this poll the CFIB surveyed nearly 2,800 small business owners the week of Aug. 5. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 per cent 19 times out of 20.

The chief practical concern cited by respondents when it comes to the execution of a vaccine policy was the legal risk of checking vaccine credentials.

Last week, Canada’s large banks got the ball rolling for the corporate world announcing full vaccine mandates effective this fall. 

Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment Ltd., owner of the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs, also recently said fans will need to show proof of vaccination to attend a game for the two teams’ upcoming seasons.

BNN Bloomberg has been tracking where Canada’s largest companies stand on mandatory vaccines.