By: Benjamin Todd

As COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to increase across Canada and around the world, governments have begun developing vaccine verification mandates. These mandates require people to be fully vaccinated before travelling, accessing certain businesses, or participating in some events. Vaccine verification helps reduce risk of Coronavirus transmission and encourages further vaccination in reluctant individuals.[1] Being fully vaccinated means having had a complete series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine 14 days prior to verification.[2] Canada currently does not have a national vaccine passport. Instead, some provinces and territories have developed their own vaccine verification system.

Vaccine Verification While Travelling

A standardized proof of vaccination is being developed for travel outside of Canada. In the meantime, travelers coming to Canada can provide proof of vaccination through ArriveCAN. As of October 30th, 2021, Canadian’s must qualify as fully vaccinated to travel by air through Canadian airports, or train with VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer. [3]

Vaccine Verification Within Canadian Provinces and Territories

The following provinces and territories have developed vaccine verification systems to be used for restricting access to certain settings.

Ontario

Starting from September 22nd, 2021, businesses and events which have high-risk indoor settings must require patrons to be fully vaccinated. These settings include indoor dining at restaurants and bars, event spaces, sport facilities, casinos, and nightclubs. Verification of vaccine status will be conducted by checking paper and PDF vaccine receipts along with a photo ID.[4] As of October 18th, the Ontario government will be issuing vaccine certificates with a SMART QR code. QR codes can be downloaded for Ontario residents from an online portal. This code can be scanned by businesses using the Verify Ontario app in conjunction with photo ID to enable easier and more secure verification. Verify Ontario is also capable of reading vaccine QR certificates from Quebec, BC, and the Yukon Territory. The new vaccine certificates issued by Ontario include the Government of Canada logo for easier use in international travel.[5] More information on how to get Ontario’s vaccine certificates can be found here.

Quebec

Quebec has developed a vaccine passport QR code system for anyone over the age of 13. This QR code can either be printed or integrated into Quebec’s VaxiCode app.[6] To download their digital proof of vaccination, Quebec residents can access a self-service portal. The vaccine passport is required at all bars and restaurants with table service, sports events, outdoor events, and many indoor public places.[7] Visitors from outside the province will need to show a valid photo ID and official proof of vaccination from their province.[8]

Alberta

Alberta now provides a QR code vaccine record for use in their Restrictions Exemption Program.[9] This QR code can be downloaded from an online portal and printed or saved on a phone. Proof of partial vaccination will be excepted until October 25th, after which time two doses will be required. Many businesses and events can opt in to the Restrictions Exemption Program meaning they will require vaccine passports. These include restaurants, night clubs, sports events, casinos, fitness facilities, and movie theatres.[10]

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination document that can be used within the province. A digital copy of the proof is automatically sent by email after a vaccine is administered if an email was provided during appointment booking.[11] If no email was provided or a new copy is needed Nova Scotia residents can apply for one online. Proof of full vaccination is needed in conjunction with ID at “non-essential events, activities and services” including full-service restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, cultural events, sports events, and museums.[12]

British Columbia

The BC Vaccine Card is a COVID-19 vaccine verification that includes a scannable QR code. The verification can be downloaded from an online portal and saved or printed out. Like many other provinces, the vaccine card and photo ID are needed at some non-essential businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms, and large sports events.[13]

Newfoundland and Labrador

The NLVaxPass is an app that has been developed by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to display vaccination status for businesses. Vaccination records directly link to the app. Alternatively, residents can download and print their QR code from an online portal. Verification is needed in many indoor business and event settings.[14]

Manitoba

Manitoba is providing its fully vaccinated residents with an immunization card that includes a QR code. The immunization card can be requested through an online portal. Verification of immunization is required for access to sport and entertainment venues, restaurants, and bars.[15]

Saskatchewan

Residents of Saskatchewan can download their COVID-19 vaccine records through an online portal. These printable records include a QR code that can be scanned by businesses for verification.[16]

Prince Edward Island

As of October 5th, 2021, PEI requires everyone over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination before entering some businesses, events, and services. These include, gyms, sporting events and concerts.[17] Immunization records can be downloaded through an online portal and printed out for use.

New Brunswick

Access to some non-essential services in New Brunswick will now require showing proof of vaccination for those over the age of 12. These non-essential businesses include restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and gyms. Acceptable proof of vaccination includes records provided from clinics and pharmacies, copies of immunization records, and the MyHealthNB record.[18]

Yukon

Starting on November 30th, proof of vaccination will be required for anyone over 12 who wants to access non-essential businesses and events in the Yukon.[19] The COVID-19 vaccine credential includes a scannable QR code much like BC and can be applied for online or over the phone.[20]

Northwest Territories

On October 22nd, non-essential businesses in the Northwest Territories can agree to a voluntary vaccine passport program. This program allows businesses to increase capacity limits by checking patrons proof of vaccination. Original paper vaccine receipts will be accepted along with newly created electronic proofs of vaccination.[21] Residents can apply online to receive their Proof of Vaccine Credential.

Nunavut

A vaccine passport is currently not required to enter businesses in Nunavut. The government is developing a certificate which will incorporate a QR code much like other provinces have done.[22]


[1] https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000779/ontario-to-require-proof-of-vaccination-in-select-settings#content

[2] https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000779/ontario-to-require-proof-of-vaccination-in-select-settings#content

[3] https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/vaccines/life-after-vaccination/vaccine-proof.html

[4] https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000779/ontario-to-require-proof-of-vaccination-in-select-settings

[5] https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000979/enhanced-covid-19-vaccine-certificate-with-qr-code-and-verify-ontario-app-available-for-download-starting-october-15

[6] https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progress-of-the-covid-19-vaccination/covid-19-vaccination-passport/showing-your-vaccine-passport

[7] https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progress-of-the-covid-19-vaccination/covid-19-vaccination-passport/places-and-activities-requiring-covid-19-vaccination-passport

[8] https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progress-of-the-covid-19-vaccination/covid-19-vaccination-passport/travellers-to-quebec

[9] https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx

[10] https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/what-you-need-to-know-about-albertas-new-covid-19-vaccine-passport

[11] https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/#proof-of-vaccination

[12] https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/proof-of-full-vaccination-policy/

[13] https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/proof

[14] https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/life-during-covid-19/vaccination-record/citizens/

[15] https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/vaccine/immunizationrecord/residents.html

[16] https://www.ehealthsask.ca/MySaskHealthRecord/MySaskHealthRecord/Pages/default.aspx

[17] https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-and-wellness/covid-19-immunization-record

[18] https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/corporate/promo/covid-19/nb-vaccine/Proof-of-Vaccination.html#top

[19] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-vaccine-mandate-passport-program-1.6212703

[20] https://yukon.ca/vaccine-proof

[21] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nwt-vaccine-passport-1.6211060

[22] https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/vaccine-qr-codes-coming-to-nunavut-this-month/

Disclaimer: This article provides information of a general nature only. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All scenarios are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in the articles. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer.