Edmonton

Alberta now requires vaccine record with QR code for its passport program

Alberta residents will now need more than a paper record from a COVID-19 vaccine clinic if they want to sit down at a restaurant, work out at a gym or enter indoor venues like arenas or movie theatres.

People without vaccination records will need a COVID-19 test or proof of medical exemption

A QR code is seen on a smartphone at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Starting Monday in Alberta, the only COVID-19 immunization records that will be accepted through the restrictions exemption program are ones with a QR code. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Alberta residents will now need more than a paper record from a COVID-19 vaccine clinic if they want to sit down at a restaurant, work out at a gym or enter indoor venues like arenas or movie theatres.

Starting today, previous Alberta immunization records without a scannable QR code — including ones from vaccine providers and those saved from the province's MyHealth Records — will no longer be accepted as proof of vaccination under the restrictions exemption program.

Patrons 12 and older entering businesses and venues taking part in the program will now be required to show an Alberta vaccine record with a QR code, a Canadian Armed Forces vaccine record or a First Nations immunization record.

Vaccine records issued by other provinces and territories will also be accepted.

People without any of those will need a negative, privately paid for COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours, or valid proof of a medical exemption.

Ernie Tsu, the president of the Alberta Hospitality Association who believes the code will help address the problem of forged vaccination passports, says it's a welcome change in the rules.

Ernie Tsu, president of the Alberta Hospitality Association, thinks the QR system will better prevent forged vaccine passports. (Terri Trembath/CBC Calgary)

"It will make a little bit of a difference, especially with not having to look at every single different piece of paper coming in," he said.

"We're hoping that all restaurants will lock down and follow the QR code because the feedback from [the] public is that they feel far safer coming out to restaurants because of it." 

Tsu, who is also the owner of Trolley 5 Brewpub in Calgary, is still curious what enforcement of this rule change will look like.

Patrons entering businesses and venues taking part in the restrictions program will be required to show one of the following:

  • Alberta vaccine record with a QR code
  • Canadian Armed Forces vaccine record
  • First Nations immunization record
  • Vaccine records issued by other provinces and territories
  • Negative privately paid for COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours
  • Valid proof of medical exemption

Vaccine records with the QR code can be downloaded  through alberta.ca/CovidRecords or obtained through a registry agent at no cost, and can be printed or displayed on a phone.

Albertans can also get a printed vaccine record with QR code at no cost by visiting a registry agent office or by calling 811. Records can be printed or displayed on a phone.

In a statement to CBC News, Health Canada said the the ArriveCAN app for international travellers cannot be used at Alberta businesses. ArriveCAN is not used for domestic travel, Health Canada said.

"Alberta's more secure and scannable QR code vaccine record makes it easier for Albertans to safely take part in daily activities," Health Minister Jason Copping said in a statement Friday. 

Around 87.7 per cent of the eligible population of Albertans 12 and up has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.  

Around 81.8 percent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated with two shots of vaccine.

With files from Terri Trembath and CBC News

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