Proof of vaccination information for businesses

Some events, services and businesses are required to check a person's proof of vaccination for access to their venue or space. The requirements are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). 

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Last updated: November 25, 2021

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PHO order on proof of vaccination

This content is a summary of the PHO order — Food and Liquor Serving Premises (PDF, 402KB) and PHO order — Gatherings and Events (PDF, 422KB) documents. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed. 

By order of the PHO, some events, services and businesses are required to check a person's proof of vaccination for service and access to their venue or space. This applies to all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+). 

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. 

Places proof of vaccination is required for entry

You must verify every customer's proof of vaccination, every time they enter your business or event:

  • Indoor organized events with more than 50 people
    • For example, weddings, funeral receptions (outside of a funeral home), organized parties, conferences, trade fairs and workshops
  • Indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events with more than 50 people
  • Licensed restaurants and cafes and restaurants and cafes that offer table service (indoor and patio dining) 
    • Includes liquor tasting rooms in wineries, breweries or distilleries
  • Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and patio dining)
  • Nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres
  • Post-secondary student housing
  • Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities with more than 50 people
    • For example, pottery studios, art classes or choir rehearsals
  • Indoor ticketed sporting events with more than 50 people
  • Indoor adult group and team sports for people 22 years old or older
  • Spectators at indoor youth sporting events
  • Non-employee supervisors, coaches and assistants of sports and group activities for people 21 years or younger
  • Indoor skating rinks
    Businesses offering indoor exercise/fitness
  • Gyms, exercise and dance facilities or studios 
    • Includes these activities happening in recreation facilities

Examples of places that don't require proof of vaccination

You don't have to check proof of vaccination at places like:

  • Grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies
  • Unlicensed restaurants that don't offer table service
    • For example, fast food, coffee shops, food courts, food trucks and takeout
  • Tasting rooms without seating attached to wineries, breweries or distilleries
  • Local public transportation (BC Transit, TransLink, BC Ferries)
  • Salons, hairdressers and barbers
  • Hotels, resorts, cabins and campsites
    • Does not include settings or events covered by the PHO order, for example, a licensed hotel restaurant, wedding reception or conference
    • Does not include exercise/fitness facilities for guests
  • Swimming pools and activities at pools
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Retail and clothing stores
  • Public libraries, museums and art galleries
    • Does not include events hosted in these venues
  • Food banks and shelters
  • Escape rooms, laser tag, indoor paint ball and arcades
    • Only if they are unlicensed or don't offer food-related table service
  • Post-secondary on-campus cafeterias
  • Airport food courts and restaurants
  • Health care services, rehabilitation or exercise therapy programs, and drug and alcohol support group meetings
  • Social services provided to people in need
  • Events like:
    • Indoor youth recreational sport for people 21 years old or younger
    • Before and after school programs for K to 12 students
    • Student events and activities in K to 12 public and independent schools
    • Indoor organized events with less than 50 people, except adult sports
    • Parenting and breastfeeding programs

What the BC Vaccine Card looks like

People can save the digital version to their phone or tablet or print a paper copy to carry in their wallet. Businesses must accept both options.

Digital card

BC Vaccine Card on a phone and tablet

Paper card

An example of a paper BC Vaccine Card


Verifying B.C. proof of vaccination

Step 1: Verify proof of vaccination

The quickest and most secure option is using the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app. You can also verify proof visually.

Fastest method: Scan QR code

Scan a customer's QR code. The customer will have it on their phone or on a piece of paper. 

The app will verify their proof of vaccination.

Visual verification

You can perform a visual verification. On a person's BC Vaccine Card, make sure their name and vaccination details are visible. Customers may present the printed vaccine card in black and white.

Note: Members of the Canadian and US Armed Forces aren't required to get a BC Vaccine Card. You have to perform a visual verification. 

Step 2: Review ID

After verifying proof of vaccination, you must also review ID. By reviewing ID, you match the name listed on the BC Vaccine Card or other form of proof of vaccination with the person you're verifying. You don't need to check ID for youth aged 12 to 18. 

Accepted forms of valid government photo ID, for example:

  • B.C. driver's licence or BC Services Card
    • ​​Customers can use their interim driver's licence, usually printed on yellow paper
  • Passport

There are many reasons why someone's ID may not correctly reflect their name, gender or appearance. This is particularly true for Two-Spirit, transgender and non-binary people. Businesses have a responsibility to protect patrons' safety and privacy. 

If you are unsure whether you can verify a person's identity, you can:

  • Request an additional piece of ID
  • Discreetly and respectfully ask for more information

Take steps to ensure that conversations about a person's identity happen in a safe and confidential way:

  • Move the discussion away from other customers
  • Use a quieter voice
  • Avoid reading the person's name aloud

Some people may have a 'carry letter' from their primary care provider to help explain why the name, photo or gender marker on their ID is different from their physical appearance. This may be useful in verifying their identity, but is not required as proof.

Gender identity and expression are protected under the B.C. Human Rights Code (PDF, 112KB).


Verifying out-of-province proof of vaccination

You may have people who aren't from B.C. accessing your events, services and businesses. They must follow the same requirements and provide proof of vaccination and ID. Follow the same 2 steps, verify proof of vaccination and review ID for a name match. 

People from other provinces or territories

People from other Canadian provinces or territories must show:

Download examples of Canadian immunization records (PDF, 2.7MB)

International visitors

International visitors must show:

  • Proof of vaccination they used to enter Canada
  • Valid government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s licence or passport)

Use the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app

Download the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app is free to download and works on smartphones and tablets. 

For iOS devices (iPhone/iPad)

Download the app on iOS

  • Requires Apple iOS 11 or later

For Android devices

Download the app on Android

  • Requires Android 8.1 or later

Introduction

The BC Vaccine Card Verifier app of the Province of British Columbia is designed to allow businesses to verify BC Vaccine Cards in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Once the QR code from a BC Vaccine Card is scanned by the BC Vaccine Card Verifier App, the app will display only the customer’s first and last name and  protection status to the person reading the QR Code.

Note: This privacy policy does not apply to the third-party online or mobile store from which you downloaded the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app.

1. General Limitations

Your personal information may only be viewed by authorized persons, and only in the context of the functions assigned to them.

2. Collection and Permissions

The information that will be readable when the QR code is presented and read with the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app of the Province of British Columbia are:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Protection status

2.1 Collection of information in the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app

The BC Vaccine Card Verifier reads and displays the information presented in the QR code within the camera's view.

The result of this processing is not stored on the verification device nor transmitted outside of the BC Vaccine Card Verifier. No usage statistics are collected.

2.2 Permissions requested from devices

Access to the phone camera is required in order to read QR codes. No image from the camera is recorded nor is it transmitted or processed outside of the BC Vaccine Card Verifier.

3. Secondary purposes with anonymized personal information

No device data is collected through the BC Vaccine Card Verifier.

Privacy impact assessments

How to use the app

With an internet connection, download the app to your device. You can download the app on multiple devices. You must allow the app to access your device camera. 

After you've finished downloading, you can continue to use the app offline. No internet connection is required to scan QR codes. 

A QR code is the square shaped image and is a type of bar code that can be read by a digital device. B.C. is using the SMART Health Card QR code format, a requirement of the federal government. This means the QR code only stores the absolute minimum level of information and is not connected to other health records.

How to scan a vaccine card

You can use the app to scan the federal proof of vaccination or QR codes from other provinces and territories, as well as BC Vaccine Cards.

Allow access to camera

Allow the app to access your camera.

Scan a digital card

Scan a digital card.

Scan a printed copy

Scan a paper card. 

What you'll see after scanning

Partially vaccinated

Partially vaccinated result.

Fully vaccinated

Fully vaccinated result.

Invalid QR code

Invalid QR code.


Privacy

The QR code is a personal document. You can't take a photo of a customer's vaccine card, even if they consent. If a customer is concerned about privacy, you can tell them:

  • The BC Vaccine Card Verifier app does not store any data
  • The QR code contains the minimum information required to verify a vaccination record
  • The vaccine card system is not connected to any other health records

Recording customer proof of vaccination

To make return visits easier, you can record a customer has provided proof of vaccination. For example, a gym may wish to record a member has already shown their vaccine card for quicker access.

If you wish to record a customer's proof of vaccination status, you must:

  • Get the customer's written consent
  • Allow the customer to withdraw their consent later
  • Delete all records once the proof of vaccination requirement is lifted, or when the customer withdraws consent

Employee privacy

Businesses should not ask to see an employee's BC Vaccine Card, unless the employee is accessing the location or event as a customer.

Organizations can enforce their own vaccination policies, but they must do their own due diligence.


Get support 

We know this is an added step to welcome customers to your venue or business. By verifying proof of vaccination, you're keeping everyone in B.C. safe.

Print-ready posters

Guidance documents

I still need help

If you need more information or have questions about the BC Vaccine Card, talk to a phone agent. 

Call: 1-833-838-2323 Select option 1, then option 3

Outside Canada and the USA: 1-604-681-4261

Translators are available | Seven days a week, 7 am to 7 pm (PDT) 


Enforcement

Businesses and organizations that do not comply with the PHO order may be 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 $2,300 violation ticket. 

Employees will not be fined for failing to check someone's vaccine card. Owners, operators and event organizers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the PHO order.

Enforcement of the COVID-19 Related Measures Act is at the discretion of enforcement officers, including police, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gambling investigators and conservation officers. Environmental Health Officers from local Health Authorities may issue violation tickets under the Public Health Act.

Customers who refuse to show proof of vaccination

You must not permit any customer who has not shown proof of vaccination to remain on the premises. You have the right to refuse service to anyone who is not abiding by the PHO orders.

If any employee feels threatened, they should avoid confrontation and call 911.

Legal liability

Businesses that are included in the BC Vaccine Card PHO order are protected for actions they take under the order. 

Businesses not covered by the PHO order are not protected, and must do their own due diligence.