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Ontario's Ministry Of Health Responds After A Top Doctor Says Vax Passports Are Coming Soon

"This is not accurate," a Ministry of Health spokesperson told Narcity.

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario Won't Get Vax Passports, Says Ministry Of Health

While other provinces across Canada make calls to mandate vaccine passports, Ontario may not be joining in.

In a recent interview with CBC Radio-Canada, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the president of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies of Ontario, said the province could very well adopt its own vaccine passport framework "within a week or two."

"It's going to be, in my opinion, something on the mobile [phone]," Roumeliotis said. "I don't think the government here has a choice. I know they said initially, 'No, we won't have the [vaccine] passport.' But we have no choice."

In the interview, Roumeliotis also mentioned that there have been discussions with officials from the Ministry of Health.

"This is not accurate," said the press secretary for Health Minister Christine Elliott in an email to Narcity. "Since the start of our vaccine rollout, Ontarians have had the ability to download or print an electronic COVID-19 vaccine receipt through the provincial portal, or by calling the provincial booking line, should proof of vaccination be required in a certain setting. This version of the vaccine receipt contains a watermark and a digital signature to deter forgery."

A follow-up email from the Ministry of Health claimed that Roumeliotis has since taken back what he said: "In addition, it has come to our attention that Dr. Roumeliotis has since clarified his comments, saying that he meant we need an official standardized proof of vaccination across the province. This already exists in Ontario."

Roumeliotis clarified his comments for Narcity via email.*

"What I said in French, was in my opinion and from what I am observing with the growing numbers of agencies, institutions and business asking for proof of vaccination, is that it is inevitable that the province will issue some form of official standardized proof of vaccination...like a certificate," he said. "I was referring to a standardized official proof that can be used by the multitude of establishments that have mandates or are planning to."

"Do I prefer to go in the direction of Quebec and BC? Yes...but for now, given the growing tide of organizations, business[es] and agencies that are mandating vaccines, we would inevitably expect a uniform standardized proof," he added.

Last month, Premier Doug Ford said Ontario wouldn't adopt vaccine passports due to concerns of creating a "split society," while Toronto Mayor John Tory has called on the provincial government to provide them.

Recently, more and more establishments and organizations have independently made the call to implement their own vaccine policies without guidance from the Ontario government.

Meanwhile, other provinces in Canada are already on board with vaccine passports, with B.C. being the latest province to make that call.

*This article has been updated.

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

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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