September 07, 2021

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues, 

This afternoon, Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new details about British Columbia’s vaccine card.

Read the government news release.

The vaccine card program begins on Monday, September 13 requiring proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter restaurants, movies, ticketed sporting events and many other non-essential venues.

As of October 24, those aged 12 and up will need to be fully vaccinated to access those same services and venues.

Following is the complete list of settings where proof of vaccination will be required:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events
  • licensed restaurants and those offering table service (indoor and outdoor dining)
  • pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and outdoor dining)
  • night clubs, casinos, movie theatres
  • fitness centres/gyms/adult sports (indoor)
  • indoor group exercise activities
  • organized indoor events with 50 or more people (e.g., wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences, workshops)
  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities

You will note customers picking up takeout and delivery meals are not required to provide proof of vaccination. Liquor retailers are also not included in this list.

How it works

  • Individuals who have received their first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. can access their BC Vaccine Card by visiting gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard
  • To access their proof of vaccination, they will enter their:
  • personal health number
  • date of birth
  • date of vaccination (either Dose 1 or Dose 2)
  • The BC Vaccine Card can be saved to a mobile device or printed and will include a secure individualized QR code.
  • Individuals who can’t access the electronic BC Vaccine Card can ask a friend, family member or support person to print their BC Vaccine Card for them, visit a Service BC office, or call 1 833 838-2323 to receive a copy in the mail.
  • Businesses will be able to download a reader app (BC Vaccine Card verifier app) from the Google and Apple app stores by September 13, to securely read the QR code to determine a person’s proof of vaccination. No personal information will be retained in the app.
  • Businesses and event operators will be provided with a suite of communications tools, including posters, a question-and-answer document, and a list of approved proofs of vaccination from other jurisdictions to guide them on how to check a vaccine card. 
  • The use of the BC Vaccine Card will be phased in to allow people extra time to transition to their new cards. From September 13-26, 2021, people will also be able to use the vaccination records they received at BC vaccine clinics or pharmacies as valid proof of vaccination. Starting September 27, 2021, only the BC Vaccine Card will be accepted for people vaccinated in BC.
  • In areas where community transmission is increased significantly or where there are outbreaks, the requirements to be fully vaccinated to access these events and activities may be required earlier at the direction of a local medical health officer.
  • Individuals will show proof of vaccination in the settings listed in the PHO orders, alongside one piece of government-issued photo identification for people 19+. People 12 to 18 years do not need to show identification.
  • Proof of vaccination will also be required for people visiting from outside of B.C. using a provincially/territorially recognized official record alongside valid government photo ID.
  • For individuals visiting from outside of Canada, they will be required to show the record of vaccination they use to enter Canada and their passport.
  • The requirement will be time limited through to January 31, 2022, subject to possible extension.

Enforcement

Businesses and organizations that do not comply with the PHO order may issued a violation ticket. 

Depending on the violation, individuals could be subject to a $230 or $575 violation ticket. Owners, operators and event organizers could be subject to a $2300 violation ticket. 

Enforcement is at the discretion of enforcement officers, including police, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gambling investigators and conservation officers.

New Public Orders

This new requirement is being implemented through orders from the provincial health officer. New public orders for Gatherings and Events and Food and Liquor Serving Premises will come into effect on September 13, 2021. 

Starting September 13, you must verify that people have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must verify that people are fully vaccinated. 

Failure to follow the PHO order may result in a fine. The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022 and could be extended. 

The public orders have not yet been posted, but will be available on this website. ABLE BC will let industry know when the public orders become available.

Resources for Businesses

The provincial government has set up a new webpage with resources for businesses on the BC Vaccine Card.

Visit the webpage for: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to check a regular customer’s proof of vaccine every time they come in – even if they are coming and going?

  • Every time a customer comes into a location, proof of vaccination must be confirmed.
  • By making the vaccine verification program consistent, this minimizes the responsibility on the business to remember the last time they checked for proof of vaccination and will also provide for staff changes (e.g., breaks, vacations) as they occur. 

Do I have to purchase a special piece of equipment to read a QR code?

  • You can use any compatible Android, iPhone, or tablet to download the QR code app.
  • The BC Card Verifier app is supported on mobile devices with a camera: e.g., Apple, Android – mobile phone and tablets. Operating system required is Apple iOS 11 or greater and Android 8.1 or greater.
  • Businesses can also choose to visually verify a customer’s proof of vaccination, instead of using the BC Vaccine Verifier app.

Are there medical exemptions for people who are not vaccinated?

  • There will be an exemption process in place for extremely rare circumstances, involving a person’s doctor and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. However, these instances will be extremely rare.

How can I ensure that proof of vaccination, locally or outside of BC, is valid?

  • The proof of vaccination would need to match the format for the relevant jurisdiction, as set out in the visual lists of documents.
  • Individuals from outside the province will show that proof of vaccination, alongside valid government identification (for those 19+).
  • Businesses can download a visual reference of approved proof of vaccination documents from BC and other jurisdictions at: gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard-businesses

Will the BC government offer legal liability protection to the businesses that are being expected to ask for proof of vaccine?

  • Businesses that are included in the BC Vaccine Card provincial health order are protected for actions they take under the order.
  • Businesses that choose to do their own vaccine policy beyond the order are not covered and must ensure they practice due diligence.

How do I respond to a customer that is concerned about the privacy of their medical information?

How should a business record a customer’s consent to record their proof of vaccination?

Note: these questions and more are answered on the BC government website and BC Vaccine Card Guide for Businesses.

Comment from ABLE BC

Thank you for the questions and comments many of you have submitted on this complex and contentious issue. We greatly appreciate hearing your perspective, which we routinely convey to government decision makers. We also know how frustrated you are at once again having new restrictions placed on your businesses, especially after months of massive financial losses due to COVID-19. 

Over the past two weeks, we have engaged directly with public health and government officials to get you the tools, support, and resources you need. We will offer updates as soon as they are available.

We also share your concerns about potential conflicts between front-of-house workers and customers who disagree with this requirement, and are working behind the scenes with government to ensure appropriate enforcement and stiff penalties are in place. We are also working with go2HR to expand their B-Safe training to include a new module on conflict de-escalation, which will be available in the coming weeks.

Rest assured we are doing everything we can to support you during this difficult time. As always, please feel free to reach out to Executive Director Jeff Guignard at jeff@ablebc.ca with any questions or feedback.

For more information:

  • BC Government news releaseVaccine card enhances confidence, increases safety at BC events. Scroll to the bottom of the news release for two backgrounders: How it works and How to get vaccinated and stay safe from COVID-19.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.


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