FAQ: National Proof of Vaccine Credentials (PVC) for CAF members

What is the digital Proof of Vaccination Credential (PVC)?

The new national proof of vaccination credential (PVC) has been developed by the Government of Canada in partnership with jurisdictions across the country, including the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This digital PVC is a proof of vaccination that meets national and many international standards and will make it easier for CAF members to prove their vaccination status during international travel and when returning to Canada. It can also be used wherever a proof of vaccination is needed, such as to access non-essential services, like restaurants and gyms, where vaccination is necessary.

Why do I need a PVC?

You require the PVC to confirm your vaccination status in some circumstances such as returning to Canada from international travel, but it may also be used for access to non-essential services, such as gyms, bars or restaurants, or in other situations in which vaccination is necessary. You will require a PVC that meets international standards in order to enter many countries, or to enter without requiring additional measures like testing or quarantine. The PVC will also make it easier to prove your vaccination status when returning to Canada. Please note that you should check for the proof of vaccine requirements specific to the country you are traveling to, as they may vary.

What information is contained in the PVC?

The PVC contains only the information needed to prove your vaccination status against COVID-19, such as the brand and dose of vaccine(s) you received and the date(s) you received them. It will also include your name and date of birth so your identity can be confirmed against the PVC when you show a government issued piece of identification. It will have a digital QR code that can be scanned to confirm it is genuine. The PVC can be printed or displayed on your electronic device.

How is the PVC created?

The digital PVC is automatically created based on the vaccination information in your Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS) medical record. If you received your vaccine(s) from Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) all required information to create the PVC is there.

If you did not get your vaccine(s) from a CAF clinic, you may provide the information from your vaccination(s) to CFHS so that it can be entered into your CFHIS medical record, and a PVC may then be issued.

What if I received vaccines from outside the CAF?

If you received your vaccine(s) from another provider, such as a civilian health care facility, you must bring that information to a CFHS health clinic so that it can be entered in your health record; otherwise, a valid PVC cannot be created for you. Your CFHS health clinic may contact the outside provider to verify the details in order to ensure your vaccine record is accurate.

Are there any special handling requirements for the PVC? Is it Protected B?

The PVC is an administrative document and is Protected A. There are no special handling requirements. It will include only the information needed to confirm your COVID-19 vaccination status. This includes your name, date of birth, information on the vaccines received, the date of the doses were administered, and who provided the vaccine. It does not contain any medical information, such as your medical history. You can keep the PVC as an electronic file on your mobile, or printed – whichever is convenient for you. Once an individual is provided with a copy of their own personal information, they become the ‘release authority’ and have no requirements to protect the information to any formal standard.

Will my medical information be shared outside of the CAF?

At no time during the creation or use of the PVC are your medical records, personal information or personal health information transmitted or disclosed to external agencies. Protecting your privacy is essential.

Who can get the PVC from the CAF?

The CAF PVC is intended for CAF members and others for whom the CAF was responsible for vaccinating against COVID-19. This includes all eligible CAF members (Regular Force and Reserve Class B or C greater than 180 days), as well as dependents accompanying CAF members posted outside of Canada.

In some circumstances others may have received vaccination from the CAF, such as certain public servants. These vaccinations should be registered with the appropriate civilian health system.  The information received at time of vaccination at the CAF immunization clinic should be provided to the provincial, territorial or local public health authority to have it recorded in the civilian system. Please consult your civilian health authority on the details of this procedure.

If you are a CAF member who received your vaccine(s) from another provider, such as a civilian health care facility, you must bring that information to a CFHS health clinic so that it can be entered in your health record; otherwise, a valid PVC cannot be created for you. Your CFHS health clinic may contact the outside provider to verify the details in order to ensure your vaccine record is accurate.

When will the PVC be available?

The CAF started issuing the COVID-19 standardized PVC on 29 October 2021.

How do I get the PVC?

The PVC was emailed to Members’ Defence Wide Area Network (DWAN) and Enterprise Cloud Network (ECN) email addresses beginning 29 October 2021 (when the CAF medical record indicates the person been vaccinated at least once against COVID-19). Note that the PVC simply confirms what vaccines the individual has received. It is up to the jurisdiction to determine if the individual has meet the requirements.

For members who don’t have access to DWAN or ECN, please refer to the information below (A11).

For those who have a valid DWAN or ECN email address, and have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but have not received a PVC please contact CFHISHelpdesk@forces.gc.ca.

What if I don’t have a DWAN email address or access to DWAN or ECN?

If you don’t have access to DWAN or ECN, the PVC will be automatically created and kept as a file in your CAF medical record. Members or dependents accompanying a member on OUTCAN posting who do not have access to DWAN or ECN may have the PVC sent to a civilian e-mail address. The individual’s civilian e-mail address needs to be added to the CAF medical record manually. Please contact your supporting CFHS health clinic, or if you are OUTCAN you may send an email to RDT-DM@forces.gc.ca. The identity of the person requesting that a digital PVC be sent to a civilian address will need to be verified, typically by cross referencing with the vaccination data already on file (SN, name, date of birth, date and type of vaccinations on file).

How do CAF member spouses and dependents who were vaccinated by the CAF get the PVC?

Spouses or dependents who were vaccinated by the CAF and who are without DWAN or ECN email may provide a civilian e-mail address that is manually added to the CAF medical file. Please contact your supporting CFHS health clinic, or if you are OUTCAN you may send an email to RDT-DM@forces.gc.ca. Bear in mind that you will need to provide information so that your identity can be verified which may include:

  • First Name
  • Last name
  • Date of Birth
  • Home email address
  • Vaccine 1st dose brand name
  • Vaccine First dose date
  • Vaccine 2nd dose brand name
  • Vaccine 2nd dose date

How do recently released members get the PVC?

Recently released members will generally have access to provincial or territorial health care after their release, and should contact their provincial, territorial or local public health authority on how to obtain the standard PVC for their area. This requires bringing or emailing a copy of the paper proof of vaccination provided by the CAF immunization clinic at the time of vaccination (e.g. entry into immunization book or immunization card) to the civilian authority. Many provinces and territories have websites with additional information on how to register an “out of province” immunization. Please consult them for more information.

If the CAF PVC is necessary, veterans immunized by the CAF should contact the supporting Health Services clinic to arrange to have the PVC e-mailed.

What if vaccine requirements change, like a need for a booster? Will a new PVC be issued?

Yes. A new digital PVC will be automatically generated and sent to you every time your CAF electronic health record (CFHIS record) is updated and if you meet the requirements for an additional COVID-19 vaccination.

Can I opt out of the automated email process?

No. CAF members will automatically receive the digital PVC to their work DWAN and ECN address. You may choose to use it or not.

Can I send the PVC to my personal smart phone or personal e-mail address?

Yes. After you receive the PVC by DWAN or ECN email, you can forward it to your personal email address so it can be kept on your phone, tablet, or printed as needed.

Note: To forward the PVC to your personal email address from D365/ECN:

  1.  enter your personal email address in ‘To’, and a warning will appear above;
  2.  select ‘Show details’, then select ‘Override’;
  3.  select ‘I have a business justification’ and type “sending my personal PVC to my personal email address” in the text box and then click ‘Override’. 
  4.  You can now send the email with the attachment

You cannot print your PVC from D365 ECN, but you can after you have sent it to your personal email address.

How do I use the PVC for international travel?

This proof of vaccination is a reliable way to show your vaccination history when travelling internationally. Processes for international travel will vary by location and may evolve over time. In general, you will be asked to show the PVC and a proof of identification. The QR code may be scanned to confirm the PVC is genuine.

How does the QR code confirm the PVC is genuine?

The QR code contains security elements that, when scanned by a compatible verification app, confirm it is based on genuine vaccination records and issued by a trusted authority. The QR code does not contain any personal information besides the information to confirm your vaccination status against COVID-19, such as your name, date of birth, the type of vaccine received, the date of the doses were administered, and who provided the vaccine against COVID-19. It does not contain any medical information.

The verification app used to scan the PVC QR code must include a link to the DND public key for verification purposes – this has been shared with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the provinces and territories to include in their verification apps.

Can the PVC be used instead of provincial or territorial proof of vaccination against COVID-19?

The CAF PVC meets the national PVC standard set by the Government of Canada.  The expectation is that provinces and territories will accept it in place of provincial/territorial proofs of vaccination.

Do I need to use the PVC instead of the paper documents issued at the clinic (e.g. immunization book, card)?

The paper documents issued at the clinic at the time of your vaccination remain valid proofs of vaccination status. However, as QR-enabled PVCs becomes commonplace, it is likely to be more convenient than your original documents. The digital PVC eliminates the need to carry paper documents, such as the immunization book or card, which may be inconvenient to replace if lost.

Does the QR code work with the provincial or territorial verifier apps?

The CAF PVC QR code meets a commercial standard called SMART Health Card which is used around the world. As the national standard proof of vaccination continues to be adopted (it was announced on 21 Oct 2021), each of the provinces and territories is expected to add the CAF-issued version of the Canadian standardized code into their recognized set. Until this happens, the provincial/territorial verifier app might not work with the CAF QR code and codes from other jurisdictions. This is normal and will resolve as the provinces/territories update their apps. In the meantime, even when the QR code cannot be scanned, the details of the member’s immunization are presented on the PVC for visual confirmation. This link provides the most current status of provincial and territorial compatibility for your PVC QR code: Overview of COVID-19 PVC Interoperability Testing (Microsoft Excel ® format) (accessible only on the National Defence network).

What if my PVC includes incorrect or “weird” information? For example, what if it says “NOT_LISTED” or something else in the space for the lot number that is not a lot number?

The PVC is generated from information entered into the CAF medical record (called CFHIS). If the digital PVC you have been sent is missing a vaccine dose or has incorrect demographic information please contact your local CFHS health clinic to ensure the complete data has been entered into CFHIS. A new PVC will be generated and sent to your DWAN or ECN email address within 24 hours. Additionally, data errors could occur during the transcription process, particularly if vaccination against COVID-19 was received outside of the CAF system or Health Services Centre vaccine clinic. These errors could lead to the PVC being rejected by non-essential businesses or border control. Please consult your supporting Health Services clinic, who will be able to review your vaccination record and correct any errors. Once these errors are corrected, an updated PVC will be automatically issued to a DWAN or ECN email address within 24 hours.

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