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Proof of vaccination certificates required starting Sept. 22

This afternoon, the Province announced proof of vaccination certificates will be required in various settings, starting Sept. 22. Below, you will find a copy of the Province’s press release, and then slides from a technical briefing held by the Ministry of Health (MOH) prior to the announcement.
In particular, the new rules do not apply to the retail sector. Nor do they apply to employees. It is also not meant to be a permanent regime, said the MOH.
In anticipation of this announcement, Huron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huron, along with The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, with guidance from legal experts at McCarthy Tétrault, recently released Vax-Pass Tenets, a proof-of-vaccination framework to support reopening plans for Ontario private sector businesses. The Framework outlines five guiding principles for private sector businesses to adopt in the development of their independent proof-of-vaccination frameworks either within or in the absence of a domestic system. You will find the tenets at the bottom of this page.

Province announces proof of double vax in various settings

TORONTO — To further protect Ontarians as the province continues to confront the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19, the government, 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. Requiring proof of vaccination in these settings reduces risk and is an important step to encourage every last eligible Ontarian to get their shot, which is critical to protecting the province’s hospital capacity, while also supporting businesses with the tools they need to keep customers safe, stay open and minimize disruptions.
“As the world continues its fight against the Delta variant, our government will never waver in our commitment to do what’s necessary to keep people safe, protect our hospitals and minimize disruptions to businesses,” said Premier Ford. “Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please do so today.”
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.
“We know vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “To protect the health and well-being of Ontarians, our government will offer one more tool to encourage even more Ontarians to receive the vaccine and provide further protection to fully vaccinated Ontarians as they safely enjoy activities with their loved ones and support their local businesses.”
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.
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.
Ontarians currently have access to a paper or PDF vaccine receipt that includes all relevant information to prove that they are fully vaccinated. 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. This is similar initial implementation approach announced in British Columbia.
Ontario will also introduce an enhanced digital vaccine receipt that features a QR code, which is safe, more secure and with you wherever you go. 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.
As the 2021-22 school year begins, it is critical to keep Ontario schools safe and students learning in-person. The province will work with trusted public health units to use the existing COVaxON system to safely and securely confirm the vaccination status of students. The province is committed to keeping parents informed about how their child’s COVID-19 vaccine information and enrollment data is being used to keep schools safe. This will equip local public health units with the information they need to ensure rapid case and contact management if required to limit disruptions in the event of cases or outbreaks and keep kids in class.
“We are already seeing a rise in the number of cases of COVD-19 as we head into the fall,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “As we enter the last mile push to increase vaccination rates, the introduction of a vaccine certificate is an important step to give people the tools to limit further spread of the virus so that we can ensure the safety of all Ontarians while keeping the province open and operational.”
“Combining the use of a QR code with a trusted, made in Ontario verifier app will help support the province’s health measures,” said Kaleed Rasheed, Associate Minister of Digital Government. “These tools will provide a simpler, faster, and better way to prove vaccination status that is both convenient and secure – while also supporting businesses with an easy validation process.”

Slides from Ministry of Health Technical Briefing

Click here to see a slide deck from the ministry’s briefing today.

Vax-Pass Tenets Provides 5 Guiding Principles to Support Organizations’ Reopening Plans 

Huron Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), with guidance from legal experts at McCarthy Tétrault, released Vax-Pass Tenets, a proof-of-vaccination framework to support reopening plans for Ontario private sector businesses recently.
The Framework outlines five guiding principles for private sector businesses to adopt in the development of their independent proof-of-vaccination frameworks in the absence of a domestic system.
Implementing proof-of-vaccination will incentivize more people to get vaccinated, allow businesses to safely reopen and mitigate against the risk of further lockdowns. Public health restrictions, such as capacity limits, could then be modified accordingly based on the lower risk involved with close contact among fully vaccinated individuals, achieving the dual purpose of safe community engagement and productive economic recovery.
“In consultation with vaccine policy thought leaders at McCarthy Tétrault, we’ve innovated and advanced a common framework for our Ontario business community. We have already seen a number of businesses, organizations, associations, unions, and post-secondary institutions implement their own proof-of-vaccination policies,” added Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “With this Framework, private sector businesses can implement similar programs with shared confidence.”
The Vax-Pass Tenets provide businesses with five principles to consider:
Safety: Businesses must take all steps reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of their workforce and place of business.
Science: Vax-pass programs should be consistent with current science and public health recommendations on COVID-19.
Accommodation: Businesses must provide human rights-related accommodation to the point of undue hardship.
Privacy: Businesses should use the least intrusive mechanism to verify vaccination status.
Transparency: Businesses should engage in clear and ongoing dialogue with employees and customers to manage understanding and expectations and educate stakeholders about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.
The Ontario Chamber Network will continue to advocate for a safe economic and societal recovery.
This document is not human resources advice or legal advice. Please consult your human resources professionals and legal advisors as you set up your vax-pass program.

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