On Tuesday, the Ford cabinet released further guidelines for businesses, to support them in implementing proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Beginning Sept. 22, Ontario plans to implement a COVID-19 vaccine passport certification program across the province.
Proof of vaccination will be required to access non-essential businesses across the province, such as indoor bars and restaurants, 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 — except youth recreational sports), sporting events, casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments, concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas, strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs and racing venues, e.g. horse racing (click here for a full breakdown of Ontario’s new COVID-19 vaccine passport system).
According to the proof of vaccination guidance for businesses, employees will match the name/date of birth listed on an individual’s vaccination receipt with the information from their ID.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior, and at least one of the following:
- The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines;
- One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada;
- Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada.
ID documents could include a birth certificate, a citizenship card, a driver’s licence, a government-issued identification card, a health card, an Indian Status Card or Indigenous Membership Card, a passport, or a permanent resident card. Ontarians can print or download their vaccination receipt from the provincial booking portal. The Ministry is also working on additional support measures (e.g., allowing people to request a copy of their vaccine receipt be sent by mail), and individuals who don’t have access to a computer or printer can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre for assistance: 1-833-943-3900.
The proof of identification and proof of vaccination against COVID-19 requirements will not apply to:
- Workers, contractors, repair workers, delivery workers, students, volunteers, inspectors, or others who are entering the business or organization for work purposes and not as patrons.
- A patron who is entering an indoor area solely to use a washroom, to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route, to make a retail purchase, while placing or picking up an order (including placing a bet or picking up winnings in the case of a horse racing track), while paying for an order, or to purchase admission.
- Children under 12 years of age.
- Churches (or other places of worship), or funeral establishments.
- Patrons who provide a written document, completed and supplied by a physician or by a registered nurse stating that the individual is exempt for a medical reason from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time period for the medical reason (click here for the full list of exemptions).
Visitors to Ontario will also be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and proof of identification to enter the businesses/organization.
The province reiterated that they are developing an enhanced vaccine certificate with a unique QR code to make it safer/more convenient for Ontarians to prove that they’ve been vaccinated. The enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app will be available by Oct. 22, 2021.
Failing to comply with the requirements can result in set fine amounts: $750 for individuals and $1,000 for corporations, with maximum penalties of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail for an individual; up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail for an individual who is a director or officer of a corporation, and up to $10 million for a corporation.
“High rates of vaccination against COVID-19 are critical to helping protect our communities and hospital capacity while keeping Ontario schools and businesses safely open,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Minister of Health noted in a statement. “As we continue our last mile push to increase vaccination rates, requiring proof of immunization in select settings will encourage even more Ontarians to receive the vaccine and stop the spread of COVID-19. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please sign up today.”
The government also announced today that they will begin offering third doses of the vaccine to additional groups.
- Individuals undergoing active treatment for solid tumors;
- Individuals who are in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell;
- Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency;
- Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome;
- Individuals undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20, and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.
In Ontario, 21,212,026 vaccine doses have been administered as of Tuesday. Nearly 84.5% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 78.2% have two doses. As of publication, 363 people are hospitalized with COVID-19; a total of 325 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 38 are fully vaccinated.
Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.