On September 14, 2021, Ontario posted Regulation 645/21 and a guidance document, which support companies and organizations in the implementation of their vaccination requirements, which will begin on September 22, 2021. Regulation 645/21 amended Ontario Schedule 1 Regulation 364/20 under the Ontario Reopening Act, 2020 (a flexible response to COVID-19) (ROA) by adding a new section (2.1).
Complete and accurate proof of complete immunization status and identification should be:
- Provided by customers at the applicable point of entry of the premises of the specified companies and organizations; and
- Reviewed and confirmed by the company or organization.
No such information provided by a customer may be retained by the business or organization.
These are basic requirements; businesses or organizations are not precluded from establishing their own policies or additional requirements for their customers. In addition, all other health and safety measures remain in effect (for example, capacity limits, customer filtering, masking, physical distancing and collection of customer contact details).
Applicable premises of companies and organizations
The list of premises of companies and organizations to which proof of the full vaccination obligation will apply includes:
- Indoor areas of restaurants, bars and other catering establishments without dance facilities (excluding outdoor terraces, take-out and delivery);
- Indoor and outdoor spaces / patios of catering establishments with dance facilities, including nightclubs, restoclubs and other similar establishments (excluding take-out and delivery);
- Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces, including banquet halls, conference / convention centers (with limited exceptions);
- Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including water parks and personal physical training. This also includes gymnasiums, fitness / sports / recreational facilities, swimming pools, league sporting events and indoor areas of the facilities where spectators watch the events (limited exceptions apply);
- Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
- Interior areas of concert halls, theaters and cinemas;
- Indoor areas of public baths, sex clubs and strip clubs;
- Areas covered with horses, car racing tracks and other similar sites; and
- Indoor areas of locations where commercial film and television production takes place where there is a studio audience (does not include cast and crew).
What constitutes a full COVID-19 vaccination?
Health Canada has approved Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 (both mRNA), and AstraZeneca / COVISHIELD and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines (both mRNA-free).
For the purpose of proving the full vaccination requirement, a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have received:
- The complete series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of these vaccines;
- One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of an mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
- Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada.
The final dose should be received at least 14 days before providing proof.
Additionally, businesses and organizations should adhere to guidelines posted on the Department of Health’s website detailing what constitutes proof of identification and being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and how to confirm the proof of vaccination.
Seizure for professional purposes and not as patrons
Proof of the full vaccination requirement does not apply to workers, contractors, repairers, delivery people, students, volunteers, inspectors or others who enter the business or organization for business purposes and not as customers .
Other entry purposes
Proof of full vaccination does not apply when a client enters an indoor area only:
- Use a bathroom;
- To access an outdoor space accessible only by an indoor route;
- To make a retail purchase;
- When placing and withdrawing an order, including placing a bet or withdrawing winnings in the case of a racetrack;
- By paying for an order;
- To purchase admission; Where
- As may be necessary for health and safety purposes.
The following clients are exempt from proof of full vaccination:
- Children under 12; and
- Customers under the age of 18 who enter the indoor premises of a facility used for sports and recreational fitness activities for the sole purpose of actively participating in organized sport (for example, sports leagues, organized collecting sports, dance lessons, martial arts and swimming lessons), in accordance with guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. This exemption applies to training, practice, games and competitions.
Documented medical reason
Those who provide a written document from a doctor or registered nurse to the company or organization that states a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective period for the medical reason are exempt from the requirement of proof of vaccination. The business or organization should review the written documentation to ensure that the individual’s name on it matches the identification provided and that the physician or registered nurse information is complete and includes their name and their contact details, the identifying logo or letterhead, the statement that there is a medical reason for the individual’s exemption, and that any effective period for the medical reason includes the date on which the client requests access to the business or organization.
Weddings and funerals
Persons entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space, including a conference or convention center, solely for the purpose of attending a wedding or funeral service, rite or ceremony. ceremony, but not at an associated social gathering, are exempt from the requirement of proof of vaccination. For a limited time, between September 22 and October 12, 2021, those who enter such indoor premises for the purpose of attending such an associated social gathering may access them if they can produce a COVID-antigen test. 19 negative carried out no more than 48 hours before instead of full proof of vaccination.
Also exempt are persons who attend social gatherings associated with a funeral service, a rite or a ceremony that takes place in the interior premises of a meeting or event space located in a funeral establishment, a cemetery or a crematorium operated by a person licensed under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2022.
Vaccine verification process
Between September 22 and October 22
The following versions of the COVID-19 vaccination receipt are acceptable as proof of complete vaccination and will be accepted if the person’s name and date of birth appearing on their ID matches the vaccination receipt:
- A hard copy of the receipt of the first and second dose provided on site at the time of vaccination;
- An electronic version sent to the recipient’s address for their records;
- A vaccination receipt downloaded or printed via the Provincial COVID-19 vaccination portal; Where
- A vaccination receipt obtained by calling the Provincial Vaccine Reservation Line at 1-833-943-3900.
Visitors to Ontario
Unless they qualify for an exemption, customers visiting Ontario will also be required to show full proof of vaccination and identification.
From October 22 – Digital vaccine certificate
Starting October 22, Ontario will make available an enhanced digital vaccine certificate with a unique QR (Quick Response) code and associated verification app that will allow users to securely verify their immunization status when scanned. After this date, customers will be able to provide a hard copy of their receipt or a digital copy of their enhanced vaccination certificate with a QR code to provide proof of vaccination.
Proof of identity
Photo ID is not required to prove identity. Proof of identity may be established using a document issued by an establishment or a public body, provided that it includes the name and date of birth of the holder and that they correspond to the name and date of birth on the client’s vaccination receipt. Examples of acceptable proof of identity include a birth certificate, citizenship card, driver’s license, or government issued identity card such as health card, Indian status card / a Aboriginal membership card, passport or permanent resident card.
Residents of Ontario can provide expired Ontario government issued identification, including a driver’s license, and expired Canadian government issued documents (for example., passports).
Visitors from Canada
Visitors to Canada can provide expired passports, but they cannot provide expired provincial documents.
Visitors from abroad
Foreign visitors cannot provide expired documents.
Compliance and penalties
Existing enforcement provisions under the LRO apply to the requirement to provide proof of full immunization status and proof of identity requirements, as well as fees and fines for individuals and businesses in the event of non-compliance.
Net result for employers
Companies and organizations to which the new proof of vaccination requirements apply should familiarize themselves with section 2.1 of Regulation 364/20 and the guidance documents. In addition, by September 22, 2021, when the requirement to provide proof of vaccination and full identification begins, these companies and organizations should establish the necessary processes and provide training to those who will implement them. Since some people who are not allowed entry may engage in harassment, threat of violence or engage in violence, we also encourage the development of a safety plan, which should include making contact with the police.