Ontario leadership is continuing to provide more details into the upcoming yet divisive vaccination passport and associated app, the first of which is set to take effect as of September 22.

Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott was joined by Associate Minister of Digital Government Kaleed Rasheed, who is leading the development of the vaccination passport’s app, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore yesterday afternoon.

“As Ontario continues to fight the fourth wave of the pandemic, driven by the Delta variant, we know that high vaccination rates are critical to protecting our communities and hospital capacity, while keeping our schools and hospitals open and our economy running,” said Elliott.

Elliott explained that in advance of September 22, when the passport will take effect, Ontarians are asked to print or download their vaccination receipt from the provincial booking tool. Those who need support obtaining a copy of their receipt can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.

Residents will be asked to provide a copy of their receipts at certain businesses and locations until October 22, when Ontario’s enhanced vaccine certificate app will be rolled out. The app will come with a unique QR code to prove you’ve been vaccinated, and Ontario says it won’t store personal information.

“Businesses need a smart, quick and safe solution to verify vaccination,” said Kaleed Rasheed, Associate Minister of Digital Government. “The made-in-Ontario enhanced vaccine certificate for the public and the verification app for businesses are tools to confirm that an individual has been vaccinated while protecting Ontarians’ health data.”

Ontario says their announcement of a vaccination passport has resulted in over 90,000 new first vaccine doses and 102,000 second doses administered in Ontario, in residents aged 18 to 59.

Businesses that will require identification and proof of vaccination as of Sep. 22 include:

- Indoor areas of meeting spaces and event spaces, banquet halls, conference centres,
- Indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments, nightclubs, excludes takeout,
- Indoor areas of restaurants and bars, excluding outdoor areas, delivery and takeout,
- Indoor areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms and pools,
- Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments,
- Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas,
- Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs,
- Indoor areas of horse racing, car racing tracks
- Indoor areas where film and TV productions take place, does not include cast or crew.

While photo identification won’t be required, your proof of identity can include your:

- Birth certificate,
- Citizenship card,
- Driver’s licence,
- Government issued ID card, including health cards, even if expired (Ontario residents only)
- Indian Status Card / Indigenous membership card,
- Passport,
- Permanent Resident card.

Ontario notes if your name and date of birth on your identification and vaccination passport do not match, you will not be allowed to enter the business. As well, if you alter the appearance of your vaccination receipt, it will not be accepted as valid.

However, proof of your identification and proof of vaccination is not required for:

- Workers, contractors, repair workers, delivery workers, students, volunteers, inspectors or others who are entering the business for work purposes and not as patrons,

- A patron who is entering an indoor area to use a washroom, to access an outdoor area, to make a retail purchase, while placing, picking up or paying for an order, or to purchase admission to the area.

- Patrons who are entering an indoor premises of a meeting or event space for the purpose of attending a wedding service, rite or ceremony or a funeral service, but not an associated social gathering.

- Patrons under 18 years of age who are entering the indoor premises of a sports and recreational fitness facility to compete in an organized sport, which applies to training, practices, games and competitions. This includes sports leagues, dance classes, martial arts and swimming classes. This does not apply to gyms, however, or to those over the age of 18.

- Patrons who provide a written document, completed and supplied by a physician or registered nurse stating the individual is exempt for a medical reason from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Patrons with a medical exemption will be required to present their ID and a written document stating they are exempt due to medical reasons, which will be reviewed by the business.

When pressed on how Ontario will be enforcing these new mandates, Deputy Premier Elliott explained bylaw officers will be in charge of the provincial offence notices, with set fine amounts of $750 for individuals and $1,000 for corporations. Maximum penalties can reach up to $10 million and jail time.

Residents are also reminded that all other public health and workplace safety measures remain in effect, including capacity limits, patron screening, masking, social distancing and the collection of contact information where required.

“The best defence against COVID-19 is getting a vaccine and encouraging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated too. Wearing a mask and practising physical distancing where possible are public health measures we all must continue to follow,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

Those who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and would like to speak to an experienced agent or health specialist are encouraged to call the Provincial Vaccine Confidence Line that can be accessed through the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre: 1-833-943-3900, or TTY at 1-866-797-0007, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.