Canada engaged in WTO vaccine talks, but unclear whether for or against

PM Justin Trudeau again dodged repeated questions about whether Canada supports waiving property rights on vaccines to make them more affordable for developing countries.

BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there is no single "silver bullet" to suddenly result in vaccines being available around the world.

Speaking in Brussels following a Canada-EU with European leaders, Trudeau says the issue of COVID-19 vaccine patents is complex, but the global goal is to get everyone around the world safely vaccinated as quickly as possible.

The World Trade Organization is in talks about the possibility of temporarily waiving intellectual property rights around vaccines. Those backing the move say doing so would make it easier for developing countries to import the expertise, equipment and ingredients necessary to make their own COVID-19 vaccines.

European leaders have presented another alternative to the idea. They believe a better solution is compulsory licensing, which is when a government OKs someone else making a patent-protected product without the owner's permission.

The Canadian government has confirmed it's in on the WTO talks around waiving vaccine patents, but after being asked repeatedly, Trudeau has yet to say what Canada's position is on the matter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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