As the vaccine passport programs begin in Canada, many people have questions about how it works and what it means. Most of the provinces, but not all, are implementing a proof of vaccination program, so how will these programs affect you?
What is the vaccine passport?
The vaccine passport is a program that proves an individual is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This proof of vaccination will be required for individuals to have access to non-essential businesses.
Can I just get a Covid-19 test instead of the passport?
It depends on your province. British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec have all stated that you cannot use a Covid-19 test instead of the province’s passport.
However, Alberta and Saskatchewan have said yes, Covid-19 tests can be used instead of the vaccine passport but only in select locations. Newfoundland and Labrador are in the process of creating the passport policy and have not yet made this decision. As for the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon, there is no vaccine passport required for now.
How do I get my vaccine passport?
Whether the program is specifically called a vaccine passport or a certificate, most provinces, but not all, have a program in place to require proof of vaccination.
From September 20 to October 25, 2021, you must show proof of at least one vaccine dose. After October 25, 2021, you must show proof of two doses. You can print a paper copy of your vaccine record or obtain a digital record through the MyHealthRecords smartphone app.
BC has implemented a vaccine card with a QR code that you can save to your phone or carry a printed copy in your wallet. From September 13 to October 24, 2021, you must show proof of at least one vaccine dose. After October 24, 2021, you must show proof of two doses. You can get your vaccine card from BC’s Health Gateway account.
As of September 3, 2021, the Manitoba Government has introduced a vaccine card to provide official proof of Covid-19 immunization. You can request your vaccine card by visiting immunizationcard.manitoba.ca. You will need your Manitoba Health card to apply. If eligible, you should get a digital QR code with your name and vaccination status instantly, and a hard copy card can be sent to you in the mail.
As of September 21, 2021, New Brunswick requires you to show your immunization record or a photo of your immunization record to gain access into non-essential businesses, services, and events. In the next few weeks, New Brunswick will implement a QR code-based app.
Newfoundland and Labrador
As of October 22, 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador’s vaccine passport will be mandatory. A QR code to show your vaccination status is now available for you to get using an app called “NLVaxPass”.
Nova Scotia has implemented the Nova Scotia Covid-19 Proof of Vaccination that will begin on October 4, 2021. You can get your proof of vaccination online.
As of September 22, 2021, Ontario implemented the first stage of the vaccine certificate program where you must provide proof of your vaccination that can be printed or digital, along with presenting government-issued photo id. The second stage begins October 22, 2021, where the province will shift to QR codes that will be scanned by businesses on an app called Verify Ontario to confirm your vaccination. The province has designated certain days between October 15-17 for people born on certain months to get their code. Find your designated day. If you missed your day, come back on or after October 18 when the website will be open for people with any birth month.
Prince Edward Island
On October 5, 2021, PEI will introduce the P.E.I Vax-Pass, their version of the vaccine passport. More information about their upcoming QR codes will be available soon.
As of September 1, 2021, you must show a QR code that proves your vaccination. You can show your code in one of three ways: on paper (business-card), as a pdf on your phone, or using the VaxiCode application. You will also need to show a piece of government-issued photo id with your proof of vaccination.
As of October 1, 2021, you will need to show proof of vaccination in Saskatchewan. You can obtain your vaccination record using the MySaskHealthRecord website where you will receive a QR code that can be printed and digitally downloaded. By the end of September, you may also acquire for free the Saskatchewan Vaccine Wallet app (SK Vax Wallet) from Google Play or Apple App stores to download your vaccine record and have it easily accessible in the SK Vax Wallet app on your phone.
Yukon has created a vaccine credential with a QR code that can be used to travel outside the territory, but will not be necessary inside Yukon.
You may notice that the Northwest Territories and Nunavut aren’t listed. For now, these territories have decided not to mandate the vaccine passports.
Where will I need to use my vaccine passport?
The vaccine passport will need to be used at non-essential businesses. These can include:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios)
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas)
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness, and recreational facilities (with the exception of youth recreational sport)
- Sporting events
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas
Your vaccine passport will not be needed for retail stores, hair salons, and essential businesses such as grocery stores and medical care. Check out CTV News’ article for a more detailed list of places the vaccine passport will not be required in Ontario.
There are many benefits to getting fully vaccinated. You can protect your health and the health of others, come onto school campuses, and participate in fun activities. What’s more, businesses who don’t enforce vaccine passport restrictions could receive a big fine! To ensure that you can participate in all the activities you want, get your vaccinations now!
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