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Ontario Vaccine Passports: What you need to know

Update: On March 1, 2022, proof of vaccination requirements were lifted, with businesses being allowed to implement them voluntarily. For more information, please visit COVID-19 public health measures and advice.

On December 10, 2021, the Ontario government announced changes to Ontario’s vaccine passport system as follows

•    The requirement to check vaccine credentials will continue indefinitely beyond January 17, 2022. 

• As of January 4, 2022, businesses that must check vaccine credentials will have to scan QR codes from either mobile phones or paper copies that include the QR code (old paper copies without the QR code will no longer be accepted).

• As of January 10, 2022, doctors’ notes for medical exemptions will no longer be accepted. Instead, customers with medical exemptions will have to present proof of vaccination that includes a QR code.

• Effective December 20, 2021, proof of vaccination for youth aged 12-17 will be required in all regions for participation in organized sports at recreational facilities

For more information please visit the following link: Ontario Taking Action Against Omicron Variant 

As of September 22, 2021, it has been mandatory for certain businesses to ask customers to show proof of vaccination before entering the business. Customers are required to show their second dose vaccination receipt and a piece of government-issued identification or the government-provided QR code and a piece of government-issued identification. Proof of vaccination can be downloaded here.

The scanning app for businesses can be downloaded here: 

Apple devices  

Android devices

Which businesses will be required to check for proof of vaccination?

Proof of vaccination status will be required in the following locations:

  • Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments without dance facilities
  • Indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments with dance facilities including nightclubs, restoclubs, and other similar establishments
  • Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions
  • Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including waterparks, and personal physical fitness training with limited exemptions
    • Includes gyms, fitness/sporting/recreational facilities, pools leagues sporting events, waterparks and indoor areas of facilities where spectators watch events 
  • Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs
  • Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues
  • Indoor areas where commercial film and TV productions take place with studio audiences

The government may update this list in future as they continue to review data and evidence.

Who do I need to ask for proof of vaccination?

Businesses will only need to ask customers for proof of vaccination. The requirement does not cover employees or the business owner. Proof of vaccination must be done at point of entry. If somebody is required to be fully vaccinated they must prove both identity and vaccination status, including minors ages 12-17.

EXCLUSIONS:

  • Youth under 18 years of age actively participating in an organized sport, including training, practices, games, and competitions.
    •  Examples include:
      •  sports leagues
      •  organized pick-up sports
      •  dance classes
      •  martial arts
      •  swimming classes
  • Children under 12
  • Those with valid medical exemptions who can provide documentation. There are very few medical exemptions. Please visit the page below for more info
  • Patrons may provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test to attend a social gathering associated with a wedding service, rite or ceremony or a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony in a meeting or event space between September 22 and October 12, 2021 (inclusive).
  • Attending a funeral service or places of worship 
  • Guests in hotels or motels (however you may be required to show vaccine status in a restaurant located within a hotel)
  • Outdoor patios, take-out and delivery  

More details can be found at the following link: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit 

How do I know if a vaccine receipt is valid?

Business owners will be required to verify certain pieces of information, including name, date of birth, second dose and date of second dose. To learn how to verify this information, please visit the following link. 

Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act

If you are using the Verify Ontario app, a green checkmark should appear after scanning, validating customers' vaccine status.

If we offer a membership, can we keep our members information?

No. There are several privacy concerns and the Ontario government has said vaccine status information should not be kept and stored by a business.

How will the government enforce the requirement of proof of vaccination?

Enforcement will be conducted by Police, Special Constables, First Nation Constables, and provincial offences officers such as by-law public health inspectors and regulatory officers from several agencies and ministries. They will take a graduated approach focusing on education promotion and localized compliance and enforcement as required.

There will be fines for non compliance starting at $1000.

Where can I obtain proof of vaccination?

Proof of vaccination can be downloaded via the government portal, or by calling the vaccine booking hotline at 1-833-943-3900. 

What if a Patron is from out of Province or Country?

Individuals that were vaccinated outside of Ontario/Canada will still be required to show proof they are fully vaccinated. The Verify Ontario app can read QR codes from Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon territory. More provinces will be added over time. Out-of-country customers should show their passport/government ID and second-dose vaccine receipt from their country of origin.

Is there any vaccine signage available?

Yes, the Ontario government has provided options for signage. Currently they are not a mandatory requirement for businesses.

Please visit the links below:

English: https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx#signage

French: https://www.health.gov.on.ca/fr/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx#Affichage

Where can I find more information on the Ontario Vaccine Program

September 14 the government released a question-and-answer document. Please visit the link below: 

Ministry of Health Questions and Answers