By Esme Rahn
After almost two years of this pandemic and one year of vaccines, the Ontario government has finally introduced their version of a vaccine passport. As of September 22, proof of vaccination is now available to anyone in Ontario. It’s also required if you're entering many non-essential businesses such as sports venues, restaurants, bars, gyms, and theaters across the province. By October 22, the Ford government has announced that there will also be an app to scan QR codes for businesses, as well as QR codes for proof of vaccination that can be accessed on a smartphone.
In less than ten minutes, you can download proof of vaccination from the Covid 19 Ontario website. You’ll need your OHIP card to log onto the site, and then from there, you download the vaccination certificate and either print it out to show to businesses or store it on your phone as an image.
As well as a vaccine certificate, you will also need to show a government-issued ID that matches your vaccine passport when entering establishments; however, it does not have to be a photo ID.
There are a couple groups of people who are exempt from showing proof of vaccination:
Children under 12 who can’t receive the vaccine
People with a valid medical exemption
Children under 18 who are entering a recreational facility to participate in sports such as swimming or dance
(However, this is a provincial rule. Toronto Public Health, as of November 1, will not make this exemption. They have said that those twelve and older will need to show proof of vaccination to participate in indoor organized sports. This means that those under the age of 18 will not be exempted in Toronto.)
People entering a restaurant or bar to get takeout or to use the restroom
Premier Doug Ford was reluctant at first to launch the vaccine passports back in July. He said that it would create a “split society.” Later on September 14, he corrected himself and said that vaccine passports were necessary to prevent another lockdown.