Ontario Just Announced New COVID-19 Health Measures In Response To The Omicron Variant

Proof of vaccination requirements won't be lifted in January.

Ontario Just Announced New COVID-19 Health Measures In Response To The Omicron Variant
Toronto Associate Editor

The Ontario government just unveiled new COVID-19 health measures for the province and some are coming into effect later this month.

In an announcement on December 10, Ontario revealed its plan for how to manage the new Omicron variant in the province, introducing health measures including enhancing proof of vaccination requirements, strengthening the verification process for medical or clinical trial exemptions, and expanding the province's vaccine rollout for booster doses.

The government said it will be delaying the lifting of vaccine certificate requirements past January 17, which would have allowed places like restaurants, bars, casinos, bingo halls, and sports facilities to stop checking proof of vaccination.

Starting January 4, only vaccine passports with the QR code and the Verify Ontario app will be accepted as proof of vaccination (but the QR code can either be provided digitally or on a slip of paper.)

The provincial government also noted that as of December 20, kids aged 12 to 17 years old will have to provide proof of vaccination when taking part in organized sports at recreational facilities.

Starting December 15, the province said will "begin a new process to provide an enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code" to Ontarians who have an eligible medical exemption or are part of an active COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

Those who fall under this bracket will have to reach out to a registered nurse or Ontarian physician so that they can submit their exemption directly to the local public health unit where their practice is located. Better get on top of it fast as starting January 10, 2022, businesses will no longer accept doctor's notes for these exemptions.

Lastly, Ontario is going to expand its vaccine rollout to provide even more booster doses for residents. The government said that starting Monday, December 13, about 5.5 million Ontarians aged 50 and over will be eligible to receive a booster dose appointment. As of January 4, 2022, everyone 18 and older will be able to book their appointment.

Earlier this week, the Ford government announced it would be pausing its reopening plan indefinitely.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor