AMO Policy Update – Proof of Vaccination Certificates
The Premier today announced the Province will launch an enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Starting September 22nd, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. The following higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn will be covered by these requirements:
• restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
• nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
• meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
• facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities, with the exception of youth recreational sport;
• sporting events;
• casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
• concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
• strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs;
• racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
These mandatory requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, other essential goods, or medical supplies. Access to voting in the federal election will not be affected. Indoor masking policies and capacity limits will continue to remain in place.
Facilities and operations not covered by the policy may develop their own access policies that make use of the new verification credentials.
According to the announcement, the enhanced vaccination certificate services will ensure individual control, privacy enhancements, stability for businesses, and interoperability with verification systems employed by the federal government. As of September 22, Ontarians will be required to show their vaccine receipt when entering designated settings along with another piece of photo identification. By October 22nd, Ontario will also introduce an enhanced digital vaccine receipt that features a QR code that can be kept on a phone and easily used to show proof of vaccination. The Province will also launch a new app to make it easier and more convenient for businesses and organizations to read and verify that a digital receipt is valid while protecting privacy. Additional tools to improve user experience, efficiency, and business supports will be developed and provided in the coming weeks including alternative tools for people with no email, health card, or ID. The government will also work to support implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access, and possession principles.
Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate. Children who are 11 years of age and younger will also be exempted from these requirements.
According to the announcement, vaccine credentials are a temporary measure, and their necessity will be monitored and evaluated based on data and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Enforcement of these requirements will be consistent with current practices under the Reopening Ontario Act. Frequently asked questions about proof of vaccination requirements can be accessed here.
On August 16th, AMO wrote to the Premier calling on the Province to implement a province-wide, practical vaccine certification program for those fully vaccinated to protect children under 12 and Ontario’s health care resources, and to support the safe, timely and stable reopening of public services, institutions, facilities, and businesses.