Ontario on Wednesday joined the growing list of provinces introducing COVID-19 vaccine passport systems.
Here’s a look at what the provinces and territories have said about their proof-of-vaccination programs, or lack thereof.
Residents of B.C. will need a vaccine card to get into restaurants, clubs, ticketed sporting events and organized affairs such as weddings in the coming weeks. Starting Sept. 13, people will have to show proof of having had a single dose of a vaccine to enter gyms, fitness centres and casinos. After Oct. 24, those aged 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated at least seven days earlier. The government says the B.C. Vaccine Card will be downloaded onto mobile phones.
Alberta has voiced strong opposition to vaccine passports and “has not and will not” mandate proof of vaccination for domestic use. However, the province said a printable vaccination card will be available for download soon to show to any entity that requires proof.
Saskatchewan has rejected calls for a vaccine passport, but the government said it will support any business or organization that chooses to mandate proof of vaccination. The province is developing a digital QR code to be used by local businesses.
Manitoba launched a vaccine card — both digital and physical — in June. On Friday, the province is expanding the areas where it will be required. The list includes indoor and outdoor ticketed sporting events and concerts; indoor theatres and cinemas; restaurants including patios, nightclubs, gyms and casinos.
Ontario will require residents aged 12 and older to show their vaccine receipt and a piece of government-issued photo ID starting Sept. 22 in order to access the indoor areas of restaurants and bars, nightclubs, meeting and event spaces, gyms and theatres. As of Oct. 22, residents will receive a QR code that will serve as proof of vaccination, which businesses can scan using a government app. Proof of vaccination will not be required to access services including retail stores and hair salons.
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Quebec launched its vaccine passport on Sept. 1, which is required to access certain non-essential activities and businesses, including bars, restaurant dining rooms, gyms, festivals, sports venues, cinemas and other large-scale events. It will also apply to all indoor sporting activities and outdoor sports that involve prolonged contact. The proof of vaccination can be uploaded to the VaxiCode smartphone application, or it can be presented as a PDF or in paper form. There is a two-week grace period but as of Sept. 15, people and businesses in violation of the health order could face hefty fines in the thousands of dollars.
New Brunswick says vaccine passports are not needed for now but could be issued in the future to make it easier for residents to travel within Canada. Premier Blaine Higgs says the province’s COVID-19 situation is manageable, but he says if other provinces start requiring vaccine passports, New Brunswick may have to offer residents a way to prove they are vaccinated. The province is also seeking guidance from the federal government, which plans to introduce a vaccine passport in the early fall for international travel.
In August, Nova Scotia’s top doctor said the province wasn’t looking to impose a vaccine passport system. Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said individual businesses or organizations could decide to employ them, but he said they should consider the legalities around doing so. Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said he would defer to Strang and health officials to see what is ultimately recommended.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province allows residents to download proof of their COVID-19 vaccination online in case they need it when travelling elsewhere, but Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t have a vaccine passport system of its own.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island doesn’t have a vaccine passport, but it requires travellers or residents returning from another province to register using the PEI Pass. The pass is available to those who have had one dose or are fully vaccinated, depending on where they’re coming from. The pass exempts travellers from isolating upon entry to the province.
The territory hasn’t committed to bringing in a proof-of-vaccination card, but privacy commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay joined her colleagues across the country in May emphasizing that passports must meet the highest level of privacy protection.
In the Northwest Territories, residents can request their vaccination records, but the territory says it will not create a vaccine passport system.