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Everything You Need To Know About Ontario's Vaccine Certificate & How It Will Work

On Wednesday, Doug Ford announced that COVID-19 vaccine certificates will officially be coming to Ontario as of September 22.

Narcity readers sent us their questions on Instagram and we answered them (along with a few others).

What do I need the vaccine certificate for?

The government announced that there is a list of businesses that will require residents to show proof of vaccination before entering.

According to the Ontario government, these spots include:

  • "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)"

How do I get it?

Starting on September 22, anyone who has been fully vaccinated for 14 days will need to show a vaccine receipt as well as a piece of photo ID (such as a health card or a driver's licence).

Residents are able to access their proof of vaccination through the provincial booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. Here, they will be able to either download or print their vaccine receipt.

However, the government is also set to release an app and enhanced vaccine certificate by October 22. Residents will be able to show a QR code on their phones as proof of vaccination.

It is important to note that those who are 11 years old or younger, as well as those who have a medical exemption, will not be required to present a certificate to enter higher-risk settings.

Who is considered fully vaccinated?

According to the Ontario government, "People are considered fully vaccinated after receiving the full series of a COVID 19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved by World Health Organization (e.g., two doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series)."

Are medical exemptions requiring proof?

According to the Ontario government, anyone who is not able to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to any medical exemptions will require proof.

Currently, the government is asking that these residents are able to provide a doctor's note. Once the app is created, medical exemptions will be integrated into the digital vaccine certificate.

How do I prove I'm vaccinated if I'm not from Ontario?

Anyone who is visiting Ontario from outside of the province will still be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated.

According to the government, "Ontario will develop and provide additional tools to improve user experience, efficiency, and business supports in the coming weeks, including ensuring verification of fully vaccinated individuals from outside of province or country."

Where can I go without a vaccine certificate?

While a vaccine certificate will be needed at high-risk locations, there are still some spots where residents won't need to show proof of vaccination.

The government revealed that outdoor settings, such as eating at a patio, will not require you to be vaccinated.

On top of this, essential services like medical care and grocery stores will also remain open.

CTV News also reports that certificates will not be needed for places of worship, hair salons, banks, workplaces, retail shopping and other personal services.

What does this mean for weddings?

Residents looking to attend weddings and funerals this fall should be fully vaccinated. However, the Ontario government said that between September 22 and October 12, residents can provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test to attend these kinds of events.

"For the period between September 22nd and October 12th, 2021, people attending indoor wedding and funeral receptions at indoor 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 the vaccine certificate showing they are fully vaccinated. These rapid antigen tests must be privately purchased," reads a statement from the government's website.

Does this mean capacity limits will increase?

The Ontario government will not be expanding capacity limits at this time in an attempt to help avoid future lockdowns.

"To avoid future lockdowns and protect hospitals, Ontario is maintaining this cautious approach. This includes not expanding capacity limits in any setting at this time," reads a press release.

"As we monitor the impact of opening schools and the growing number of people returning to workplaces, we will evaluate when it may be safe to consider expanding capacity limits in settings that are captured by the new vaccine certificate policy."

How long will the vaccine certificate last?

The Ontario government stresses that the vaccine certificate will be a temporary measure.

While there is no date on when it will last, the government states "how long they are necessary will be monitored and evaluated based on data and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health."

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.

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