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Everything you need to know about B.C.'s new vaccine passport mandate

What kind of places will require proof of vaccination? 
vaccine-passport-system-bc-august-2021
People aged 12 and older will have to show proof of vaccination in British Columbia to attend certain recreational events and activities in September 2021.

People aged 12 and older will have to show proof of vaccination in British Columbia to attend certain social and recreational events and activities. 

Provincial officials announced Monday (Aug. 23) in a press briefing that a new order from the provincial health officer will require proof of vaccination to attend certain social and recreational settings and events.

The order will go into effect Monday, Sept. 13. 

"Vaccines are our ticket to putting this pandemic behind us," said Premier John Horgan.

"So I call on all eligible unvaccinated British Columbians to roll up their sleeves to stop the spread, and help protect themselves, their loved ones and the people in their community. British Columbia has one of the strongest vaccination rates in Canada with 75% of eligible people now fully vaccinated, but there is still more work to do."

The requirement is in place until Jan. 31, 2022, subject to extension.

Will I need to be fully vaccinated to attend recreational events?

Yes. As of Sept. 13, people aged 12 and older will be required to show proof of one dose of vaccine will be required for entry to a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province. 

By Oct. 24, entry to these settings will require people to be fully vaccinated at least seven days after receiving second doses.

Dr. Henry says there are no exemptions to this requirement. 

What kind of places will require proof of vaccination? 

To enter certain spaces, people will be required to show proof of vaccination. These will include:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor and patio dining in restaurants
  • Indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events
  • Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars
  • Nightclubs and casinos 
  • Movie theatres 
  • Gyms, pools and recreation facilities 
    • Does not include youth recreational sport
  • Indoor high-intensity group exercise 
  • Indoor organized gatherings like weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops
  • Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery and art
    • Does not include K to 12 schools and before and after school programs
  • Post-secondary on-campus student housing

Events, businesses and services will ask to see your proof of vaccination and valid government ID.

How will you provide proof of vaccination?

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that proof of vaccination will most likely be "through phone or by showing a paper copy" along with personal identification. 

"It is very much the same thing as looking at proof of identification to get into a bar or a nightclub, for example," she said, adding that the province will work with businesses on how to manage and simplify the process. 

A secure web link will also be provided and publicized before Sept. 13, where people will be able to confidentially access their proof of vaccination.

From here, you can save a copy of your proof of vaccination to your phone to show it when entering or using designated businesses and events. Individuals who cannot access their proof of vaccination online will be provided with a secure alternative option.

What about privacy concerns? 

The premier noted that officials have been working with B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy and his staff to create technology specifically for the purpose of verifying immunization records. 

"If you have the technology — and the vast majority of people do — they can download that information and then apply it to whatever venue they want to enter," he said. "And we're hopeful that this going to be as seamless as we can make it."

Horgan added that the province is also working with other jurisdictions for ways to effectively and fairly implement the order. 

What about children? 

Details on specific COVID-19 safety requirements for K-12 and post-secondary schools will be available this week. However, Henry underscored that children will be the lone exception for people not required to show proof of vaccination to social and recreational events and activities. 

What if I'm visiting from outside of B.C.?

You are still required to show proof of vaccination if you are visiting from outside of the province. 

People from other Canadian provinces or territories must show a provincially/territorially officially recognized vaccine record as well as valid government ID from the same province or territory.

What will international visitors be required to show?

International visitors must show the proof of vaccination they used to enter Canada with their passport.

The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories to develop a COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel. 

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Wednesday (Aug. 11) that the document should be ready by the "early fall" and will be digital with a paper option. It will include data on the type of vaccines received, the dates and the location they were given.

Did you lose your COVID-19 immunization card?

Did you lose your immunization card?

Learn what to do if you lost your card or want to see an online record.