Calgary city council extended the mandatory vaccine passport program to officially include kids involved in youth sports.
According to Airdrie lawyer Derek From, the original wording for Bylaw 65M2021 “implied” youth sports were “in-scope” with respect to the province’s Restriction Exemption Program (REP).
“Now, with this amendment, it is explicit,” said From, pointing to subsection 2(1)(b) of the amendment which states, in part: “… for the purposes of this bylaw an ‘eligible business’ also includes a youth physical activity, youth performance activity or youth recreational activity.”
According to the province’s REP, businesses considered in-scope can choose to either participate in the REP or not.
If participating, the business must require proof of vaccination or require a negative COVID-19 test result or medical exemption for those 12 years and older and may continue to operate as usual. If a business opts to not follow the REP, it’s required to limit its capacity to one-third and follow all other public health requirements.
Although city administration recommended the rules in Calgary should be the same as provincial ones, according to From, the amendment, ” … demonstrates they are ignoring the province and have rewritten the law, which they aren’t allowed to do,” he said, adding provincial law is superior to city bylaws.
With respect to the Government of Alberta website defining requirements of the REP, it states: “Youth physical activity, performance activity, and recreational activity where all participants are under the age of 18,” are considered out of scope for the program.
City council voted 11 to zero and the motion was carried unanimously.
Children 12 and older will have to show proof of vaccination, but not required to show ID should the facility be working within the REP.
The motion may be a moot point as most facilities brought in their own COVID-19 rules that required children to show proof of vaccination or submit a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of accessing the facility.
City administration said 36 tickets were written for violation of the vaccine passport bylaw, and 166 tickets written since September 2021 for violations of the city’s face-covering bylaw.
With Files from Melanie Risdon
Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard