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A Guide on How to Get Your Life Back: Ontario's Vaccine Passport

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A Guide on How to Get Your Life Back: Ontario's Vaccine Passport

• Credit: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Everything you need to know about the new health pass

Fully vaccinated Ontarians now need to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, bars, and concerts. Find out how to get your vaccine receipt here.



Article aussi offert en français

In Canada's most populous province, the hard-fought war against Covid-19 is now in what we hope is its final phase. More than 80% of eligible Ontarians are fully vaccinated. Every day, thousands more are choosing to get their first shot.

To speed up our return to this new normal—where we can gather at sporting events, in theatres, at concerts, and inside restaurants—is another line of defense announced by the Ontario government in partnership with public health: The Vaccine Receipt.

Also known as a vaccine passport, vaccine certificate, or vaccine pass this receipt is required for entry to select locations in Ontario as of Sept 22, 2021. 

What is it? We break down what it means, where to get yours, and where you'll need to show it.

When does Ontario's vaccine passport go into effect? 

Now. Proof of vaccination is required as of September 22, with the digital app to follow on Oct. 22.

How do I get my proof of vaccination?

A receipt (available on the provincial website) showing proof of vaccination will be required. Once the app becomes available users can show a QR code with proof of vaccination. 

Get your vaccination receipt here or call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

Your local public library can help you access and print your vaccine pass if you need assistance or don't have access to a printer. 

What does being fully vaccinated mean?

Fully vaccinated means having had two doses of an approved Canadian vaccine. The final dose must have been more than 14 days ago. 

Where do I need to show proof of vaccination in Ontario?

According to the press release, you will need to show your proof of vaccination at the following places: 

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, delivery, and takeout).
  • Nightclubs, including outdoor areas.
  • Meeting and event spaces like banquet halls and convention centres.
  • Sports and fitness facilities and gyms, with the exception of youth recreational sports.
  • Sporting events.
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments.
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas.
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs.
  • Racing venues.

What if I work at one of these places? Is vaccination required?

No. But many employers have their own mandates requiring workers to be vaccinated. Double-check with your employer. 

What if I need to go to the hospital or a walk-in clinic? Will I have to show proof of vaccination?

No. 

do I need proof of vaccination to go into a mall, Gas station or big box store?

According to the recent announcement, proof of vaccination will not be required to enter retail stores or gas stations. Some retailers may have enacted their own policies, however, so check before you visit. 

Do I need proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant?

Yes, if you want to eat indoors. Outside dining does not require proof of vaccination.

Can i travel to other provinces with my proof of vaccination?

Yes, the plan is that other provinces will recognize Ontario's vaccine app and vice versa.

Can I travel out of the country with my vaccine passport?

Yes, other countries will accept your Ontario passport as proof of vaccination. However check with your airline and the Covid-19 related protocols and requirements at your destination. Many countries do not have the high vaccination rates that Canada enjoys, and may have travel restrictions. 

I'm American and am travelling to ONtario. Do i need to bring my proof of vaccination when i go out? 

Yes. All Americans travelling to Canada must show proof of vaccination in order to enter the country. The vaccination record from your own state (either a vaccine card or your own state's vaccine app) should be accepted in any Ontario establishment. Make sure you have an additional ID that matches the name on your vaccine card or passport just in case. 

Is there a precedent for this? What about my privacy?

Many regions, countries, and American states have implemented a passport system to protect the health of their citizens including the EU, Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Singapore, Russia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, New York, California, and Hawaii. Many school systems around the world also require proof of childhood vaccinations for mumps, measles, and polio before children are allowed to attend. 

Your privacy is secure and your health information encrypted when using the app. One way to think about your privacy concerns is to think about whether you own a cell phone, use social media, or own a travel passport. If you do, you're choosing to give away some of your personal data in exchange for the convenience, safety, and entertainment those things offer you.

What if i don't want to be vaccinated?

Around 80% of eligible Ontarians are currently vaccinated. If someone is in the minority of citizens who choose not to be vaccinated this will restrict their options when it comes to entertainment and travel in Ontario, within Canada, and when it comes to international travel. 

I got my vaccination pass, now what?

Congrats! Print it out, keep it with you, and go about your regular business. Thanks for doing your part to keep Ontarians safe, and for bringing a quicker end to this pandemic.

To get your vaccine talk to your family doctor or visit your local pharmacy or vaccine clinic. The vaccine is free, safe, and effective in preventing serious illness or death from a Covid-19 infection. Currently all Ontarians aged 12 and older are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. 

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