Overview of Ontario’s new COVID-19 vaccine passport policy

Photo by Darien Funk

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Ontario initiated the COVID-19 vaccine certificate system.

Ontarians will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entering non-essential businesses across the province, including:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios).
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas).
  • Meeting and event spaces, including banquet halls and conferences.
  • Facilities for sports and fitness including gyms and recreational centers.
  • Sporting events.
  • Indoor areas of waterparks.
  • Indoor areas of commercial film and TV productions with studio audiences.
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments.
  • Concerts, music festivals, theaters and cinemas.
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.
  • Racing venues.

In Ontario, you must be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine.

To enter any non-essential business, you will be required to provide certification that shows you have received two doses. In addition, you must bring a piece of valid government ID with your name and date of birth that match the information on both vaccine certificates.

To obtain your vaccination certificates, you will need to download or print your first dose receipt and second dose receipt from the Ontario.ca portal.

You need your OHIP card to log in to the website before downloading the receipts to your device as a PDF or  photo. You are also able to save your receipts to Apple Card Pay. 

Hard copies of vaccination receipts, including print copies and original receipts, will also be accepted. 

If you fail to provide proof of vaccination, you will not be permitted to enter. The only exceptions are children under 12, as they are not eligible for vaccination and medical exemptions with a written document from a physician or nurse practitioner stating the reason for the exemption. 

The vaccine certificate system will be in place until roughly around Oct. 22, as the province plans to introduce a verification app in mid to late October.

Once the app launches, non-essential businesses will scan unique QR codes on vaccine certificates to verify their authenticity.

Similar to the procedure with vaccine certificates, if you enter a non-essential business, you will present the certificate by displaying the QR code for scanning, along with the appropriate piece of ID. 

The app will read the QR code, verify it, and display the vaccination status based on provincial guidelines on the device.

According to Health Canada, vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19. 

With the Delta variant causing a surge in cases, the need for additional steps to further increase vaccination rates and ensure protection in public settings for fully vaccinated people is apparent––the vaccine certificate system will help enhance public safety.

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