Ontario will announce a form of vaccine proof certificate — known as a “vaccine passport” — for the province, sources told CBC News. The plan is expected to be revealed early next week.
Sources familiar with the plan spoke on condition of confidentiality because they are not authorized to speak publicly.
The implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine passport will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Sources say that while some cabinet members oppose the vaccine passport, the program will move forward.
The possibility of obtaining an Ontario vaccine passport was first reported by Global News.
Pressure has been mounting on Premier Doug Ford’s government in recent weeks to issue a type of vaccine passport as the province experiences a Delta-type-driven fourth wave of the pandemic.
Several local health medical officials, as well as mayors in some of Ontario’s largest cities and independent medical experts, have publicly joined the chorus, saying that a clear and effective regional system is needed to avoid confusion and stem the current wave.
Quebec and British Columbia have already created vaccine passports on smartphones that people can use to prove their coronavirus immunization status in commercial or public settings – everything from bars and restaurants to bowling alleys and hockey rinks – where provincial law will soon require proof of a shot before Access.
Manitoba also announced plans to commission a vaccine that would limit ticketed restaurants, fitness centers, theaters and sporting events to people who show evidence of vaccination.
Ford resisted passports
The provincial government said recently on Wednesday that it does not plan to implement vaccination passports in Ontario.
A spokesperson for the health minister told CBC News earlier this week that Ontario would not transition to a system similar to Quebec’s, following comments made by Dr.
So far, Ontario has resisted the idea, with Ford saying he didn’t want a “divided society.”
The province also said that Ontarians have the option to print their electronic vaccination receipts if needed, although critics have noted that the prints can easily be forged.
On Wednesday, the Peel District Medical Officer of Health threw his support behind the vaccine certification program, saying he was exploring local options in case the county doesn’t take one. Similarly, Toronto Mayor John Tory said earlier this month that he supports such a program.
Business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Toronto District Trade Council have also called for a vaccine certification system as a way to avoid a fourth wave shutdown.
While campaigning on Friday, liberal leader Justin Trudeau also announced a $1 billion fund to help counties create their own vaccine passports, and called on Ford to “step up” and implement one.
If the county requires that everyone be vaccinated at a local restaurant, gym or other non-essential work site and show proof of vaccination, Ottawa will pay to develop and launch that program, Trudeau said.
“It keeps people safe. It encourages everyone to do the right thing. It keeps our businesses open and it keeps our economy rebuilding,” Trudeau said.
In a statement following the news, Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner called on Ford to “put politics and ideology aside” and act immediately to enforce the passports.
“This is an announcement that should have come weeks ago. But Ford was nowhere to be seen.
“Other provinces are on the way to certify the vaccine to protect residents and help small businesses stay open,” he said. “But Doug Ford has once again made Ontario play a catch-up role,” he said.
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