Ontario Announces Vaccine Passports As COVID-19 Cases Tick Higher

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced that his government will implement proof-of-vaccination requirements for access to non-essential services throughout the province.

Effective September 22, Ontarians will have to show they're fully vaccinated in order to dine indoors at restaurants and bars, enter a fitness facility, attend an indoor concert or sporting event, or go to the movies.

Initially, proof will be provided by a paper or PDF receipt of double-vaccinated status, as well as government-issued identification. As of October 22, the provincial government said Ontarians will have access to a unique QR code that businesses will be able to scan using an app.

In a technical briefing, the government emphasized that "at no time" will the vaccine passport requirement be expanded for admission to grocery stores and medical care.

Business owners in Canada have been mixed in their views on vaccine passports.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a survey last week showing fewer than half of respondents support a passport requirement for employees in the workplace or customers visiting their business. However, more than half (55%) said they’d support proof-of-vaccination requirements if that prevented another lockdown.

Ontario reported 656 new cases of COVID-19 on September 1, 66% of which occurred in unvaccinated people, according to provincial data.