"Steps have been taken to mitigate this happening again."
The company that owns a series of digital billboards in Canada is apologizing for an ad that ran for one day that supported a movement against the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports.
One reader shared a photo of the ad with the Tri-City News as it appeared on Allvision's sign in Port Coquitlam located on Lougheed Highway west of Coast Meridian Road.
The ad showed the logo and website for Police on Guard for Thee, an independent national movement made up of retired and active-duty officers, and a campaign that claims vaccine passports "violate your rights."
Allvision executive vice-president of sales Jennifer Bidwell confirmed the ad's PoCo pop-up and explained to the Tri-City News it ran on Monday (Sept. 20) until it was permanently removed at 7 p.m.
"It was taken down as soon as we were made aware that it was running," she said, noting all ads submitted to Allvision are ultimately approved by its internal operations staff.
"This campaign was booked last minute through a third party sales group and unfortunately, there was an oversight in the creative approval process because of recent personnel change."
Bidwell explained Allvision "fully supports" vaccines against COVID-19 and all public health measures needed to prevent the spread of the virus.
"We sincerely apologize to the community for any issues this may have caused. Allvision has given away millions of dollars [in] free space/media to promote vaccinations and public health safety since the pandemic has started and will continue to do so."
Allvision has two digital billboards in all of B.C. — both in Port Coquitlam.
The ad was displayed exactly one week after B.C.'s vaccine card came into effect on Sept. 13, in which the system requires eligible residents 12 years and older to show proof of vaccination to get into what are called "discretionary" events and businesses.
The process is in light of the continued increase in COVID-19 cases linked to the Delta variant, particularly among the unvaccinated according to recent statistics provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
In the Tri-Cities, there were 111 COVID-19 local-area cases between Sept. 12 and 18 in the BCCDC's latest Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 by Local Health Area of Case Residence data.
This marked a 33 per cent week-to-week decrease compared to 165 recorded between Sept. 5 to 11.
WHAT IS POLICE ON GUARD?
Police on Guard is a national movement committed to seeking "truth and justice" for law enforcement members, its website explains.
The group believes COVID-19 health and safety measures, including vaccine passports, conflicts with active duty officers' oath and puts them "in an untenable position when directed by politicians and senior management to enforce these emergency measures."
"The unconstitutional Public Health orders in place have resulted in the permanent closure of countless small businesses, the declining mental health of adults and children, and the tainted reputation of Canadian Law Enforcement," the group explains on its website.
"A collective breaking point was reached by many in the police force as we saw Canadian’s fundamental human rights slowly stripped away. We signed up to act as beacons of truth, peace and integrity and we intend to hold fast to that conviction by shedding light on the unconstitutional nature of current Public Health legislations surrounding COVID-19."
The movement's mission statement also says its goal is to "serve and protect the public, while remaining independent of political influence" and "to repair and regain public trust" which they believe is also conflicted by public health and safety protocols.
B.C. VACCINE CARD
Between now and late next month, residents are required to have one dose of a vaccine to get into certain events and businesses, along with a piece of government ID.
By Oct. 24, double-vaccination is required to get into events like ticketed sporting events with more than 50 people, restaurants with liquor and/or table services, casinos and movie theatres.
A full list of "discretionary" places and information on how to obtain a vaccine card can be found on the B.C. government's website.