A look at COVID-19 vaccine certificate programs across Canada

Nova Scotia on Wednesday became the latest province to announce plans to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

Here's a look at what the provinces and territories have said about their proof-of-vaccination programs, or lack thereof.

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British Columbia

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 card can be downloaded onto mobile phones and printed versions will also be available.

Alberta

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

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

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

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.

Quebec

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

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.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia will require residents 12 and older to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to "participate in discretionary, recreational or non-essential activities" starting Oct. 4. The system will apply to restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sporting events. People will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or a single dose of a one-dose vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization. The province says it will develop a process for people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Premier Andrew Furey said on Tuesday the province would introduce in the coming weeks a vaccine passport system modelled on the one used in Quebec. On Twitter, he said proof of vaccination will be uploaded to a smartphone application or provided on paper. The tweet said the passport will be required for non-essential recreational activities, and it was accompanied by images including a restaurant menu, a fitness class, a concert, a hockey game and a bingo card. The province already allows residents to download proof of their COVID-19 vaccination online in case they need it when travelling elsewhere.

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.

Yukon

The territory is launching an online COVID-19 vaccine credential system. Premier Sandy Silver says the credential will be available online and will help residents when they are asked for proof of vaccination in other jurisdictions, including when they travel. The system will give residents the option of receiving a digital copy or printing a paper copy of their proof of vaccination.

Northwest Territories

In the Northwest Territories, residents can request their vaccination records, but the territory says it will not create a vaccine passport system.

Nunavut

Nunavut has said that it won't have its own vaccine passport system, but that it will comply with federal requirements as they are decided.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2021.

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