Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
In response to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the Delta variant, Ontario announced that commencing September 22, 2021, people will be required to be fully vaccinated (i.e., two doses plus 14 days) and provide proof of their vaccination status and photo ID (e.g., driver’s license or health card) to access the following businesses and settings:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, and delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, e.g., banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports, fitness activities and personal fitness training, e.g., gyms, fitness and recreational facilities (excluding youth recreational sports);
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs; and
- Racing venues, e.g., horse racing.
On September 1, 2021, Ontario also released responses to frequently asked questions about the new proof of vaccination requirement in certain settings.
Negative COVID-19 test or recent COVID-19 infection
A negative COVID-19 test or previous COVID-19 infection will not allow individuals to attend these settings, and they are not considered a substitution for vaccination, apart from the narrow, time-limited negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test exception related to weddings and funerals, discussed below.
The requirements will not apply to:
- Outdoor settings, including patios, but they will apply to outdoor nightclub spaces; and
- Settings where people obtain:
- Medical care;
- Medical supplies; and
- Food from grocery stores.
Indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.
The following individuals will be exempted from the requirements:
- Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions are integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate; and
- Children who are under age 12 and unable to be vaccinated.
Weddings and funerals between September 22 and October 12, 2021
Between September 22 and October 12, 2021, people attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test (privately purchased) taken no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination.
Tools to improve user experience and efficiency and business supports
In the coming weeks, additional tools to improve user experience, efficiency and business tools will be developed, including tools for people who do not have a phone, computer, email, health card or ID, and to ensure verification of fully vaccinated individuals from outside Ontario or Canada. In addition, Ontario will be providing support for the implementation of vaccine certificates in Indigenous communities.
Paper or PDF vaccine receipts that include relevant information to prove full vaccination are currently available to all Ontarians. Vaccine receipts can be obtained by downloading them here, or by obtaining a copy via email from a call centre agent at the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1.833.943.3900.
Commencing on October 22, the following will be available:
- An enhanced digital vaccine certificate featuring a unique QR code that can be kept on a phone and allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned; and
- A new verification app to help businesses read the QR code on the digital vaccine receipt.
Visitors from outside Ontario or Canada
To enter the settings listed above, individuals visiting from outside Ontario or Canada will be required to show their full vaccination status and identification.
Enforcement will be conducted by by-law officers. Education and warning visits will be the first step for Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors.