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COVID-19 – For businesses: Vaccine Passport Bylaw

The City of Calgary Vaccine Passport Bylaw 65M2021 requires many businesses and organizations to require proof of vaccination, recent negative COVID-19 test, or valid medical exemption letter to gain entry.

Business Town Hall on the Vaccine Passport Bylaw and Restrictions Exemption Program

Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) hosted a virtual town hall on Oct. 1, 2021 to provide an opportunity for the business community to ask questions about The City of Calgary’s Vaccine Passport Bylaw, the Province’s Restrictions Exemption Program, and enforcement.

Does my business or organization need to check for proof of vaccination?

The following businesses, entities and events must require proof of vaccination, negative test result or a medical exemption letter:


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


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

Recreation and fitness

  • Recreation and fitness facilities
  • Adult and youth (12-17) recreational sport groups (players and participants)


Businesses and services not included

  • Events in private dwellings
  • Curbside pickup, drive-through, food trucks and restaurants where there are no dine-in options
  • 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 (e.g., hotel rooms)
  • Places of worship for faith-based services
  • Health Services
  • Personal services
  • Wellness services
  • Publicly-funded post secondary institutions, including cafeterias and residence common areas
  • First Nations college entities

Displaying signage

Under the bylaw, business operators and organizations are required to display messaging in public entryways of the business. You can use your own signage, or  download a pre-made sign below. 

Failure to do so could result in a $200 fine.

Download pre-made signage

What a customer needs to show for entry

Any person aged 12 years and older must show identification and one of the following:

Proof of vaccination

Proof of vaccination

The Alberta vaccine record with QR code (paper or digital) is now the only valid Alberta-issued proof of vaccination accepted.

Other accepted forms of vaccination include:

  • A First Nation vaccine record
  • Another provincial or territorial vaccine record
  • Canadian Armed Forces vaccine record
  • ArriveCan app and valid international travel identity document

You can print your own card online or get one printed for free at a Registry Agent, Calgary Public Libraries and The Kerby Centre.

Proof of negative test

Proof of negative test result

You can show a negative COVID-19 test result. Tests must be:

  • Provided as an original or printed copy (photos are not sufficient)
  • Privately-paid
  • A Health Canada approved rapid antigen, rapid PCR or lab-based PCR test
  • Completed within the past 72 hours

Test results must show the type of test, time of sample collection, clear indication of a negative result, and laboratory that completed the test.

Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

Medical Exemption

Medical exemption from vaccine letter

You must show an original, signed letter from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes:

  • Your name that matches your identification (only required for adults 18 and over)
  • Physician’s or nurse practitioner’s complete information, including their name, phone number, contact information, professional registration number and signature
  • A statement that there is a medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • The duration that the exemption is valid

Accepted forms of personal identification

  • Birth certificate issued by a government of a province of Canada
  • Citizenship card
  • Driver’s licence issued by a government of a province of Canada 
  • Government (Alberta or other) issued identification card, including health card
  • Certificate of Indian status
  • Métis Nation of Alberta Association citizenship and identification card
  • Inuit Status card
  • Passport attesting to citizenship or other national status, issued by a government of any jurisdiction 
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Any other form of identification recognized by Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health

Questions and answers for businesses

About the bylaw

Businesses have already been hit hard by the pandemic, why are we putting further restrictions on them?

The intention of the bylaw is to take pressure off businesses by ensuring the same rules and regulations are in place for similar businesses and to help mitigate conflict with patrons who disagree with the Restrictions Exemption Program.

We’ve received official support from the Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association, Calgary Economic Development and Calgary Arts Development, who agree that a bylaw will help ensure that the program is applied consistently and fairly and will keep staff and patrons safe.

How are businesses ensuring that proof of vaccination information is kept private?

The Government of Alberta has issued guidance regarding this matter. 

  • Operators should obtain legal advice about the impact of this program in their business/industry context
  • Operators should obtain legal advice to inform their program if collecting and maintaining a list of individuals that can enter and re-enter a facility (e.g., so that repeat clients do not need to show proof of vaccination each time)
  • Personal health information should not be stored onsite

Can a business choose to exceed the requirements of the bylaw?

The Vaccine Passport Bylaw will align with the requirements of the provincial Restriction Exemption Program (REP) program, in that operators may implement a program that is more restrictive than outlined by the bylaw.

For example, operators may put in a place a business policy that restricts access to vaccinated patrons only.

While businesses are free to set their own policies, they are required to adhere to municipal, provincial and federal laws.  Should there be a concern over a violation of the Alberta Human Rights Act the Alberta Human Rights Commission could be contacted for further information.

Do performers in a venue need to be vaccinated?

Performers are considered temporary employees and would not be required to be vaccinated under the bylaw.

Are business owners and employees required to show proof of vaccination?

At this time, the bylaw doesn’t cover owners or employees as it involves conditions of employment. Businesses are free to make their own employment policies as long as they comply with Human Rights legislation.


How should businesses manage customers that become irate and abusive due to the bylaw?

Any threats or abuse that are directed at staff, business owners or fellow patrons should be reported immediately to 9-1-1.

If a customer is unvaccinated, can they go into my restaurant to pick up a takeout order?

This Bylaw does not apply to a restaurant that only offers take-out (including food trucks), delivery or drive-through services.

Any business offering any dine-in service must provide proof of vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test or a medical exemption before allowing customers to enter their premises. This includes customers entering the business to collect take-out.

Unvaccinated customers can, however, still do curbside pickup if offered.

Do patrons have to provide proof of vaccination at each visit, or will it be kept on file for subsequent visits?

While businesses may keep this information on file, operators must be mindful of the legal implications of adopting this practice and should obtain legal advice.


Who is responsible for enforcement?

The City’s community peace officers and police officers will be using a coordinated enforcement approach to respond to reported complaints regarding the Vaccine Passport Bylaw, working with Alberta Health Services when required.

Reporting violations or fraud

Reports of businesses that are not posting the required signage or not asking for proof of vaccination, as well as reports of patrons that are not providing proof of vaccination can be reported to 311.

Reports of providing false vaccine records will be investigated by the Calgary Police Service as a Criminal Code offence. Complains of fraudulent vaccine records can be reported to the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

What should a business do if they suspect a patron is presenting invalid or forged proof of vaccination?

Invalid or forged proof of vaccination is considered fraud. If you suspect this, please call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.