Nova Scotia Announces Plans for Proof of Vaccination Policy

Nova Scotia joins other provinces in announcing requirements for proof of vaccinations. Nova Scotia will be implementing a Proof of Vaccination Policy effective October 4, 2021 that requires individuals to be fully vaccinated if taking part in activities that are “discretionary, recreational, or non-essential.” The Province has specifically avoided calling the new proof of vaccination measures a “vaccine passport.”

This announcement does not require employers to ask for proof of vaccination from employees. At present, all provincially regulated employers in Nova Scotia remain free to follow their own workplace vaccination policies on whether employees are required to be vaccinated, provide proof of vaccination or proof of negative tests. Nova Scotia has not yet mandated that healthcare workers, teachers, or other provincial employees be vaccinated, nor has it required that employees working in restaurants, bars, and gyms be vaccinated, although this may change when the details of the Policy are released.

In the announcement made on September 8, 2021, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, stated that the Province’s Proof of Vaccination Policy is not finalized, but he anticipates it will apply to patrons engaging in activities at the following locations:

  • Restaurants;
  • Bars;
  • Movies;
  • Performances;
  • Concerts;
  • Sporting events; and
  • Fitness facilities.

Individuals attending these locations will be required to show proof that they received two doses of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine or proof of a valid medical reason as to why they cannot receive a vaccine. Dr. Strang emphasized that there are few valid medical reasons that would prevent an individual from receiving a vaccine and the Province plans to list those conditions in the Policy.

The Nova Scotia COVID-19 Immunization Record is currently available by email or mail to anyone who has received at least one dose of vaccine. For now, this will be the proof required and can be accessed on a smart phone or provided on paper. The Province indicated it is working on a digital record, but did not release details.

The Province has emphasized that these are “time-limited measures” to balance the risk of reopening with the fourth wave and that the goal is for the Policy to apply to social events that bring large groups of people together so these events can occur safely. The Policy will not apply to children under 12 as they are not eligible to receive a vaccine.

Given this information has only been delivered verbally during the Province’s COVID-19 news briefing, and the Policy has not been finalized, as soon as further information is released,  Mathews Dinsdale will provide updates regarding the Policy.

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing a COVID-19 vaccination policy tailored to the needs of your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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