Quebec's COVID-19 vaccine passport goes into effect across the province today

Sep 1 2021, 1:05 pm

As of September 1, having proof of vaccine against COVID-19 will become as normal as leaving the house with your wallet and keys across all of Quebec.

Canada’s first vaccine passport has gone into effect, allowing people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend various non-essential activities.

The passport works with a quick response (QR) code that is displayed on the VaxiCode app — a platform developed and coded exclusively for people and businesses confirming proof of vaccination.

Quebec’s Health Minister, Chrisitan Dubé, says VaxiCode is a “passport to freedom” and is the government’s solution to enforcing more lockdown measures amid the pandemic’s fourth wave.

Dubé says the initiative is “the balance we have found to keep our economy open while protecting the population.” He says the passport is to “avoid closing businesses and banning activities.”

The passport is in effect for a wide array of non-essential activities, including restaurants, bars, gyms, theatres, museums, festivals, and events.

Earlier in August, Quebec Premier François Legault said governing officials will monitor how the rollout unfolds and will “adjust as it goes.”

Legault and his government also refused the opposition’s request to debate the system’s ethics at the National Assembly, saying he “didn’t want to give a platform to conspiracy theorists.”

Here are details on how the passport system works, with information from the Quebec government.

How does the vaccine passport work?

The VaxiCode app displays a scannable QR code. The code contains people’s name, birthday, and vaccination status. Information will be displayed in green for people who are fully vaccinated and in red for people who aren’t.

How do I download VaxiCode?

The app is available for download on iOS and Android devices for people aged 13 and older. A digital copy or printed-out version of the QR code will also be accepted.

How does VaxiCode work for businesses?

A separate app, VaxiCode Vérif, is available for businesses and event organizers. The VaxiCode Vérif app will scan people’s QR codes to determine who is vaccinated and who is not.

The information is not retained by the app and will disappear in seconds.

Customers will need to show photo ID to cross-reference with the app and confirm identification.

Where will it be required and where won’t it be?

The passport will be necessary at gyms, restaurants, bars, cafes, festivals, events, sports venues, training facilities, casinos, amusement parks, zoos, and bingo halls.

People ordering takeout food will not be required to show their vaccine passports.

Pharmacies and grocery stores will not be implementing the passport.

A full list of places where the passport is not required can be found here.

Will the passport be enforced?

The government says there will be some leniency for the first two weeks but penalties will be applied starting September 15.

Vaccine passport fraud could result in fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.

Are passports required in schools?

Passports will not be required at public schools. Some extracurricular activities may require proof of vaccination from students older than 13.

How does the passport work for visitors to Quebec?

People who live in another province or country will be able to show printed proof of vaccination along with photo ID that proves where they live.

What about people who can’t get vaccinated?

Quebec’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said in the “extremely rare” case that somebody can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, doctors can fill out a document and give a QR code that will grant those who can’t be vaccinated access to non-essential services.

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