Vaccine-card enforcement: 885 complaints filed in B.C.; 13 violation tickets issued

B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon has his provincial COVID-19 vaccine card scanned by White Spot restaurant general manager Bill Warwick, before having breakfast in Delta, B.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Just over a dozen enforcement tickets were handed out in the first month of B.C.'s vaccine-card program, but hundreds of complaints were issued to officials.

B.C.'s vaccine card rules rolled out on Sept. 13, requiring proof of immunization to access many discretionary businesses and events like restaurants, movie theatres and games.

In a statement to CTV News Vancouver, B.C.'s public safety ministry and office of the solicitor general said 885 complaints have so far been received by local health authorities and the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

From those, 648 were investigated and 401 were "resolved through education and compliance," the ministry's statement said.

Beyond that, 48 warning letters were issued and 13 violation tickets were handed out.

As of Oct. 3, only three tickets had been issued, meaning 10 more were handed out in a 12-day period. 

As well, the ministry said three closure orders were issued to businesses over the past month. Two liquor licences were suspended and one business licence was suspended.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said earlier in the month that more enforcement was coming.

"I'm aware that there are those that think the rules don't apply to them," Farnworth said last week. "Tickets have been issued and there will be more coming."

The ministry said nearly 3.6 million people have downloaded their vaccine cards.

Starting on Oct. 24, the next phase of the vaccine-card program will begin. Starting that date, proof of full vaccination will be required to access those discretionary services.

However, officials have previously said they don't expect to see as many vaccine card tickets because of how many residents are already vaccinated.

"We anticipate that the number of violation tickets issued in relation to vaccine card requirements will be much lower than the rate of violation tickets in previous months," the ministry said in an email. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alissa Thibault

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