Premier Ford reluctantly announced the rollout of what the government is calling a vaccination certificate program. The plan will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021.
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This list includes:
- 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).
Asked why he changed his mind on the Vaccination certificates Ford said the election was part of his decision.
The requirement will not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, including patios, with the exception of outdoor nightclub spaces given the risk associated with the setting. In addition, these requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies and the like. Aligned with public health measures currently in place, indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place. The Blue Jays and the CFL have already instituted their own mandatory vaccination policies.
For the time being, individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. The province is working to establish personalized QR codes for vaccinated individuals, which is expected to be ready for Oct. 22. People could either print or store the PDF QR code on their phone. It must be used alongside government-issued photo ID.
The government is also developing an app for businesses to scan and verify the contents of the QR code, which will also be ready in October.
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 and unable to be vaccinated will also be exempted from these requirements.
For the period between September 22 and October 12, 2021, it is intended that people attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. These rapid antigen tests would have to be privately purchased.
The government has been under criticism for not moving sooner in order to have the policy in place for the first day of back-to-school.