City council approves vaccine passport bylaw for Calgary businesses, events

Sep 23 2021, 4:20 pm

Calgary city council has passed a vaccine passport bylaw in an effort to clarify how the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program works for businesses.

The decision was made during a council meeting on Wednesday, a week after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s announced the program enacted on Monday, September 20.

Under the Restrictions Exemption Program, Alberta businesses and events can operate as usual with no restrictions, as long as they are serving only people who have proof of immunization, a medical exemption letter, or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

If they choose not to participate in the program, these entities can operate with restrictions in place.

However, with the new bylaw in place, all Calgary businesses eligible for participation in the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program are now required to follow or exceed the program requirements at all times.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a media release that the Vaccine Passport Bylaw will clarify how the Restrictions Exemption Program works for businesses.

“This bylaw will create a level playing field for business in Calgary and provide clear guidance on how to apply the requirement for proof of vaccination or negative COVID test,” said Mayor Nenshi.

The bylaw also allows the City of Calgary’s community peace officers to enforce and support compliance to the vaccine passport program city-wide.

Beginning Thursday, September 23, the following businesses, entities, and events must require proof of vaccination, negative test results, or a medical exemption letter from patrons age 12 and older.


  • Restaurants
  • Nightclubs
  • Casinos, Bingo Halls, VLT Lounges
  • Entertainment and recreation centres, such as bowling, racing entertainment, arcades, billiards halls, and other similar entertainment
  • Museums, art galleries
  • Movie theatres


  • Conferences, meeting spaces, halls, and rented spaces
  • Weddings and funerals held in public facilities where the facility maintains responsibility for adherence to these requirements
  • Professional sporting or other performance events (spectators)
  • Private social events held in public facilities where the facility maintains responsibility for adherence to these requirements

Recreation and fitness

  • Recreation and fitness facilities, including City of Calgary-run facilities
  • Adult and youth (age 12 to 17) recreational sport groups (players and participants)

The following are not included in the vaccine passport bylaw.

  • Events in private dwellings
  • Retail and shopping malls
  • Food courts
  • Libraries
  • Workers and employees in/on a worksite for the purposes of their employment
  • Schools (Kindergarten to Grade 12)
  • School curriculum-based activities
  • Accommodations (such as hotel rooms)
  • Places of Worship (for faith services)
  • Health Services
  • Personal Services
  • Wellness Services
  • Publicly-funded post secondary institutions, including cafeterias and residence common areas
  • First Nations College entities

Businesses or facilities impacted by this bylaw are required to display signage. Places that fail to display this signage could receive a penalty of $200, and permitting a person to enter a venue without proof of vaccine can result in a penalty of $500.

Calgary vaccine passport

City of Calgary

Patrons who fail to provide proof of vaccination before entering a business or event could receive a penalty of $500.

Further details about the new vaccine passport bylaw can be found on the City of Calgary website.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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