New Requirement for Proof of Vaccination in Certain Settings: Frequently Asked Questions

Published on September 02, 2021

Beginning September 22, 2021, Ontario will require proof of vaccination focused on indoor public settings. All Ontarians who registered their vaccines are encouraged to download their vaccine receipt as proof of their vaccine status until an enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code is available.

Who is considered fully vaccinated?

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).

Does a previous COVID-19 infection allow you to attend these settings?

No, a previous infection is not a substitute for being fully vaccinated.

How can I get my proof of vaccination?

Currently, vaccine receipts are available in PDF form to be downloaded or printed to your computer, phone or tablet. Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation. Both proof of identity along with proof of vaccination will be required. Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

What if a person has a red or white health card or does not have health card?

If a person has a red and white health card, they can call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. The call centre agent can email you a copy of your receipt. If they don’t have an OHIP number at all, they should contact their local public health unit, and they can help you obtain the receipt.

What if they don’t have a phone or a computer?

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.

How do I prove I am fully vaccinated if I am from out of province or out of country?

Individuals visiting from outside the province or the country will be required to show their full vaccination status and identification to enter prescribed settings.

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.

How does an individual prove they are fully vaccinated if they are an Indigenous person and haven’t consented to providing their data to COVAX?

In the coming weeks Ontario will support implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities whether or not they have opted to enter their data into COVax, while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access and possession principles.

How does a person correct or change information on their vaccine credential?

Individuals should contact their local public health unit to make any changes to their vaccination record.

What will happen on September 22nd? What will happen on October 22nd?

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination as well as proof of identity (such a driver’s licence or health card) to access certain public settings and facilities.

An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

What will the digital vaccine certificate look like?

Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. This could be stored on a mobile device, such as Apple Wallet. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

What if I don’t want to disclose my vaccination status?

It is the discretion of the individual to determine whether they would like to disclose their vaccination status. Should they make the decision not to divulge this information, they will not be permitted to access settings that require proof of vaccination.

In settings where you have to be vaccinated to attend, is recent negative test sufficient to attend if you are unvaccinated?

A negative COVID-19 test or recent COVID-19 infection will not entitle a person to enter these settings, with narrow time-limited exceptions for testing. 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.The only exemptions are for unvaccinated people with medical exemptions and people under 12 years old will also be permitted to enter these settings.

Will people with medical exemptions be allowed to access settings requiring proof of vaccination?

The only exemptions permitted to enter these settings are for unvaccinated people with medical exemptions and people under 12 years old. Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted with a doctor’s note until the medical exemption can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate.

Will individuals aged 11 and under be allowed to access settings requiring proof of vaccination?

Individuals aged 11 and under will be eligible to access these settings. If they are accompanied by an adult, the adult must be vaccinated.

Will proof of vaccination be required to attend weddings and other organized 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.

Will people need a phone to be able to access businesses that require proof of vaccination?

A vaccination certificate is a PDF that can be downloaded online or received in paper copy. It includes the same information in both printed and digital form. These certificates will be required to access certain businesses and settings starting on September 22, 2021 as part of the Ontario government’s efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. By October 22, an enhanced vaccination certificate will be available in a new digital format that will offer increased accessibility and privacy protection.

How will businesses verify digital vaccination certificates?

Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22. Guidance will be provided to business ahead of September 22 to ensure they are prepared.

How long will a vaccine credential be in place?

Vaccine credentials are a temporary measure to address health and safety in the COVID-19 pandemic. How long they are necessary will be monitored and evaluated based on data and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

How will the government enforce the requirement for proof of vaccination?

Consistent with current practices under the Reopening Ontario Act, enforcement will be conducted by by-law officers. Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors will begin with education and warnings visits.

Why isn’t the province increasing capacity limits for the settings where proof of vaccination is required?

As Ontario continues to confront the Delta-driven fourth wave, the province has taken a cautious approach. This has included some of the highest vaccine thresholds required for re-opening, as well as maintaining indoor masking, a policy that other provinces are now re-introducing.

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. 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.