Proof of vaccination will be required to enter non-essential business starting Sept 7
Proof of vaccination will be required to enter non-essential business starting Sept 7

Province unveils Ontario vaccine passport plan

Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith
EAP
Starting September 22, a vaccination record will be required to enter non-essential businesses in Ontario.

“As the world continues its fight against the Delta variant, our government will never waver in our commitment to do what’s necessary to keep people safe, protect our hospitals and minimize disruptions to businesses,” stated Premier Doug Ford. “Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please do so today.” 

Ford announced September 1 that the province will launch its vaccine passport program starting September 22. Fully vaccinated individuals entering a non-essential business must present photo ID, along with either a digital or printed-out version of their vaccination record, to prove they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions must present a doctor’s note. Children under 11 years of age that are unable to be vaccinated will be exempted from these requirements. 

These restrictions apply to all non-essential spaces, including: restaurants and bars, nightclubs and their patios, meeting and event spaces, sports and fitness facilities, sporting events, casinos, bingo halls, music venues, theatres and cinemas, strip clubs, bathhouses, sex clubs, and racing venues. A more detailed list is available on the province’s website. 

These restrictions will not apply to medical facilities, grocery stores, and other essential businesses, although indoor masking policies will remain in effect. 

“We know vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and health minister. “To protect the health and well-being of Ontarians, our government will offer one more tool to encourage even more Ontarians to receive the vaccine and provide further protection to fully vaccinated Ontarians as they safely enjoy activities with their loved ones and support their local businesses.” 

In the coming weeks, the government will introduce enhanced digital vaccine receipts with a QR code. This, along with the companion reader app, will make it easier for businesses to verify a person’s vaccination record while still protecting privacy. Vaccine certificates will be established for Indigenous communities, whether they have opted to enter their data into COVaxON or not, while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access, and possession principles. Alternatives will be established for people with no email, health card, or ID. 

Individuals can get copies of their vaccination record through the provincial booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.