British Columbians will be required to have two vaccine cards following federal rules

Canada will adopt a national vaccine passport to make crossing the border a little easier. But British Columbia is declining to harmonize its proof of vaccination card, meaning at least in the short term, B.C. residents will have to carry two separate proofs with them. Richard Zussman reports.

British Columbians will be required to have both a federal vaccine passport and BC Vaccine Card if they want to eat at a restaurant and travel by airplane.

Premier John Horgan acknowledged the rollout of the federal vaccine passport will lead to “confusion” in British Columbia.

He did not explain why the BC Vaccine Card, which has been downloaded by more than 3.7 million people, does not sync up with the new federal card.

“If you want to travel internationally or on federally regulated modes of transportation you are going to need to have a separate card,” Horgan said.

“You can do that by reviewing the information being provided by the federal government. We will look at how we can bring the two together.”

Starting on Oct. 30, Canadians will be required to show proof of immunization or a negative PCR test result to travel on a plane or train. There will be a grace period and, according to Horgan, it seems that during the grace period the BC Vaccine Card will be enough.

But starting on Nov. 30, Canadians will need to show a federal vaccine passport to travel in and out of the country. This card will be separate from the B.C. card.

In order to travel, Canadians will be required to provide proof they have been fully immunized against COVID-19.

The B.C. card shows someone has been vaccinated twice.

The federal vaccine passport will show your name, date of birth, and COVID-19 vaccine history — including which doses you received and when you received them.

Read more:

Trudeau unveils Canada’s international proof-of-vaccination for COVID-19

Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and all three territories have put the national standard into use, but not B.C.

“We are hopefully going to clarify issues in the days ahead,” Horgan said.

“I know the B.C. card will be acceptable for a period of time. It does create confusion for people anxious to travel.”

British Columbia, along with all provinces, has agreed to conform proof-of-vaccine documents, or COVID-19 vaccine passports, to a national standard so that they can be used for international and domestic travel.

Even though the changes are expected to make international travel easier, Ottawa is not removing the requirement for travellers to produce a negative PCR COVID-19 test when arriving back in Canada. The test costs around $200.

Horgan said he has not discussed his concerns about the test with Trudeau yet.

“I find the notion I can get a test in Vancouver, travel to the United States and return back to Canada counter to the whole point,” Horgan said.

“The point is if you are travelling somewhere else and may have contracted COVID-19 you should be tested before you return. A two-day-old test used in Bellingham doesn’t make sense to me.”

— With files from Rachel Gilmore and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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