The Government of Ontario, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021.
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:
- 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).
These mandatory requirements would not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, including patios, with the exception of outdoor nightclub spaces given the risk associated with the setting. In addition, these requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies and the like. Aligned with public health measures currently in place, indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.
Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate. Children who are 11 years of age and younger and unable to be vaccinated will also be exempted from these requirements.
For the period between September 22 and October 12, 2021, it is intended that people attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. These rapid antigen tests would have to be privately purchased.
As of September 22, Ontarians will be required to show their vaccine receipt when entering designated settings along with another piece of photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or health card.
An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22. This digital vaccine receipt can be kept on a phone and easily used to show that you’ve been vaccinated if you need to. In addition, the province will launch a new app to make it easier and more convenient for businesses and organizations to read and verify that a digital vaccine receipt is valid, while protecting your privacy.
Ontario will develop and provide additional tools to improve user experience, efficiency and business supports in the coming weeks, including establishing alternative tools for people with no email, health card or ID. The government will work to support implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities whether or not they have opted to enter their data into COVaxON, while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access and possession principles.
Do proof of vaccination requirements apply to employees of affected spaces?
No. Proof of vaccination requirements apply to patrons/clients of the above listed spaces. Employers are encouraged to develop a vaccination policy for their workplace.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), with guidance from legal experts at McCarthy Tétrault, have developed Vax-Pass Tenets, a proof-of-vaccination framework to support reopening plans for Ontario private sector businesses. Available here.
How will businesses verify digital vaccination certificates?
Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22. Guidance will be provided to business ahead of September 22 to ensure they are prepared.