In an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, along with the implementation of vaccine passports in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario, several provinces and territories have updated their proof of vaccination systems. Here’s what you need to know about vaccine passports across Canada.
British Columbia’s vaccine passport system will begin on September 13. People in B.C. will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter certain businesses like restaurants, bars and indoor ticketed events.
Residents of British Columbia can now access their vaccine card online. The card is a one-page PDF with the person’s name, confirmed vaccination status and a QR code that businesses will need to scan prior to allowing access. The vaccine card can be downloaded as a digital copy or printed as a paper copy.
Those who have trouble accessing their card online can also receive their copy by calling a hotline at 1-833-838-2323. Service BC Centres can also print out vaccine cards.
Businesses can choose to either scan the QR code using a mobile QR code reader app, to be released in app stores closer to September 13, or visually verify the individual’s proof of vaccination.
The use of the vaccine card will be phased in to allow people and businesses time to transition to the new system. From September 13 to 26, people may use the vaccination records they received at B.C. vaccine clinics or pharmacies as their proof of vaccination. Starting September 27, the only accepted proof of vaccination for people vaccinated in the province is the B.C. Vaccine Card.
On September 3, Manitoba implemented a vaccine mandate requiring people aged 12 and up to show proof of vaccination to access restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos, theatres and ticketed events. Manitobans can use Manitoba’s immunization card or printed provincial immunization record as their proof of vaccination.
Newfoundland and Labrador
A vaccine passport system will be implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador within the coming weeks to a month. Premier Andrew Furey announced that the province will follow Quebec’s proof of vaccination system.
The province will use a QR code to show vaccination status in order to gain access to certain non-essential businesses, which will be specified at a later date. This QR code can be printed and will not require internet connection to use.
According to Health Minister Dr. John Haggie, exemptions for medical reasons will not be disclosed on the vaccine passport and those with exemptions will be treated as vaccinated. The College of Physicians and Surgeons are creating guidelines to determine what constitutes as a medical exemption.
For Newfoundlanders and Labradorians vaccinated outside of the province, an online portal will launch Thursday, September 9, so they can get a valid vaccination record. They will need a valid MCP card and the vaccination record from the other provider, and the record will take around two weeks to process.
Nova Scotia’s proof of vaccination policy will be implemented on October 4. People in Nova Scotia will be required to show proof of vaccine using the CANImmunize app to access certain non-essential recreation services such as restaurants, theatres, gyms and sporting events.
The Government of Nunavut plans to wait until after the federal and territorial elections, scheduled for September 20 and October 25, before making a decision on whether or not the territory will adopt a vaccine passport system.
Currently, individuals receive a vaccination record card when they get their first dose. All records are also stored electronically. With the implementation of vaccine passport systems across Canada, the territory is also looking to expand the card to a system that will meet national standards.
Ontario’s vaccine passport system will launch September 22. Individuals aged 12 and up must show proof that they are fully vaccinated in order to access certain “high-risk” indoor non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres and casinos.
Ontarians can use the paper or PDF vaccine receipt they received after getting vaccinated as their proof vaccination. The province also plans to roll out a digital vaccine receipt with unique QR code, along with an app for businesses to be able to scan the QR code, on October 22.
Quebec launched its vaccine passport system on September 1. Businesses such as bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and casinos now need to verify an individual’s vaccination status using the VaxiCode Vérif application. Individuals aged 13 and over must show their vaccine passport through the VaxiCode app or a QR code in paper format, along with valid government ID.
Proof of vaccination is not mandated in Saskatchewan, but the province is providing a printable proof of vaccination document for people to use at businesses, venues or events where it may be required.
Saskatchewan residents can now access this document through their MySaskHealthRecord (MSHR) account. The province is also working on a digital QR code to be released at a later date.
In response to the vaccine passport systems being implemented across Canada, Yukon is launching a vaccine credential system for people to use when traveling outside of the territory. This vaccine credential system is meant to be used as valid proof of vaccination in other provinces and territories, since Yukon currently has no plans of implementing its own vaccine mandate.
The vaccine credential is available online, by phone and by mail. Those using the online service can access a PDF with their vaccine status immediately. The vaccine credential will include a person’s name, birthdate, a QR code, the number and type of vaccinations they received and the dates they were administered. This online system will only access information about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status, and not any additional personal health information.
All other provinces and territories have the same proof of vaccination systems in place as previously reported. The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS) monitors changes to COVID-19 health restrictions as they occur across the country and will continue to provide updates as they develop.