BC Announces New Vaccine Card and Proof of Vaccination Requirements

On August 23, 2021, the BC government announced that proof of vaccination will be required by order of the Provincial Health Officer to attend a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and activities throughout the province as of September 13, 2021.

Individuals will be required to be at least partially vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 13, 2021 in order to attend certain events and activities. As of October 24, 2021, individuals will be required to be fully vaccinated, at least seven days out from receiving their second vaccine dose in order to access those same events and activities. Businesses and event organizers are permitted to implement these requirements prior to September 13, as part of their safety plans. These measures are intended to be temporary and will be in place until at least January 31, 2022.

Where will proof of vaccination be required?

Proof of vaccination will be required for entry into:

  • Indoor ticketed sporting events;
  • Indoor concerts;
  • Indoor theatre, dance and symphony events;
  • Indoor and patio dining in restaurants;
  • Night clubs;
  • Casinos;
  • Movie theaters;
  • Fitness centers and gyms (excluding youth recreational sport);
  • Businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities; and
  • Organized indoor events such as conferences, weddings, parties, workshops and meetings;
  • Discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities.

How will proof of vaccination be provided?

Individuals will be able to access their vaccination information through the “BC Vaccine Card”  website and save a copy to their smartphone. An alternate secure paper option will be made available through a call-in centre. Individuals will be required to show their proof of vaccination and valid government ID as a condition of entry. More information regarding the website and call centre is anticipated shortly.

Are there any exemptions?

These new measures will impact individuals attending the discretionary events and activities listed above. Essential services are not impacted; for example, proof of vaccination is not required for entry into grocery stores, retail settings, and places of worship. Children under the age of 12 are also exempt, subject to the condition that they must be accompanied by an adult who is fully vaccinated in settings where vaccination is required.

During the press conference, Dr. Henry confirmed that there are no exemptions for those who are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for health or religious reasons, noting that these requirements are temporary.

Individuals visiting British Columbia from another jurisdiction will also be required to provide proof of vaccination.

At present, these measures do not apply to employees of the affected businesses and organizations. Dr. Henry advised that is remains up to each employer to determine whether employees are required to be vaccinated.

Finally, these measures do not apply to K-12 schools (public and independent) and before-and-after school programs for students, except for large indoor events attended by parents, family and/or the public (i.e., theater and concerts).  Guidance and guidelines for K-12 schools and student activities is anticipated to be provided August 24, 2021. These new measures do apply to post-secondary campuses, including student housing, as of September 7, 2021. Further guidance for post-secondary institutions is also anticipated to be provided on August 24, 2021.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Sari Wiens, Ilan Burkes, Ingrid Otto, Nicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.