What You Need to Know About Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Certification Program Effective Sept 22nd

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Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2021/Flickr

Ontario has announced that the province will implement a vaccine certificate program to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Starting September 22nd, Ontarians and visitors will need to be fully vaccinated to access restaurants, bars, gyms and other indoor settings where masks cannot be worn for the duration of the visit.

Ontario is also developing a digital vaccine certificate for individuals and a verification app for businesses to verify the vaccine status of patrons.

Where all do you need to show vaccine proof in Ontario:

 

Vaccine proof is required at higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn including:

  • 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).

Where vaccine proof is not required:

Vaccine proof is not required where people receive medical care, grocery stores, medical supplies and similar stores.

Outdoor places are considered low risk and do not require vaccine proof with the exception of outdoor areas of nightclubs. This includes patio dining at restaurants.

Who all are exempt from showing vaccine proof:

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Credit: Ontario Govt

Children who are 11 years of age and younger are exempt from showing vaccine proof.

Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note.

Ontario is planning to adapt medical exemptions into the digital vaccine certificate.

Who is considered fully vaccinated:

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Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2021/Flickr

Those who are immunized 14 days prior with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield or one dose of Johnson and Johnson or any other COVID-19 vaccines accepted by WHO.

How to get & show vaccine proof:

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Credit: Ontario Govt

Ontario requires vaccine proof and a piece of photo identification to access places where vaccine proof is required.

Those who are vaccinated in Ontario can download and print proof of vaccination (the receipt one received after vaccination) from Ontario’s vaccine portal. People can also call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

People with a red or white health cards can call 1-833-943-3900 and the call centre agent will email you a copy of the receipt.

Those who do not have an OHIP number should contact the local public health unit.

Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation if they have not already done so.

The vaccine receipt together with a piece of government-issued photo id (like driver’s licence or health card) will be accepted as vaccine proof.

Ontario is developing a digital vaccine certificate program that will generate a QR code. The province is expecting the program to be ready by October 22nd.

Once the digital certificate is ready, Ontarians can either download the program and show the QR code on the phone or download the vaccine certificate in a pdf format or print the vaccine certificate.

Customers will need to show a photo ID to cross-verify with the app or printed certificate and confirm identification.

More details on the digital certificate are yet to be released.

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How does this work for businesses:

After October 22nd, businesses can verify the vaccine status of individuals using a verification application that can scan people’s QR codes to determine who is vaccinated and who is not.

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What about negative tests:

Ontario will not accept negative tests in lieu of the COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

The province is providing a limited exception for a period of September 22 to October 12, 2021 for those planning to attend wedding or funeral receptions where a vaccination certificate is mandatory. In these places, a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event can be used as an alternative to proof of vaccination.

Will the passport be enforced:

Ontario will enforce the vaccine certificate program and enforcement will be conducted by-law officers and Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors, beginning with education and warnings.

Those who do not want to share their vaccination status will not be permitted to access places where proof of vaccination is required.

How does the passport work for visitors to Ontario:

Those visiting Ontario should also provide proof using a provincially/territorially recognized official record alongside a valid government ID from the jurisdiction.

More details of how businesses will verify the details are yet to be released.

 

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