TORONTO — To protect Ontarians as the province confronts the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is taking action by requiring people to provide proof of vaccination to access certain businesses and settings.
Effective 12:01 a.m. on September 22, 2021, Ontario will require patrons to provide proof of identification and of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access certain businesses and settings. The Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act provides information for businesses and organizations implementing this requirement.
Please refer to the regulations for more information. This summary does not constitute legal advice.
Which settings will require proof of vaccination to enter?
This requirement focuses on higher-risk indoor (unless otherwise stated) public settings:
- Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments without dance facilities
- Indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments with dance facilities, including nightclubs and restaurants, clubs and other similar establishments
- Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces
- Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including waterparks, and personal physical fitness training with limited exemptions
- Includes gyms, fitness/sporting/recreational facilities, pools, leagues, sporting events, waterparks, and indoor areas of facilities where spectators watch events
- Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
- Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres, and cinemas
- Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs
- Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues
- Indoor areas where commercial film and TV productions take place with studio audiences.
Are there any exemptions to this regulation?
Exemptions include but are not limited to children under age 12, youth under age 18 participating in indoor organized sport, including training, practices, games and competitions, and patrons with a medical exemption will be permitted entry without proof of vaccination.
In addition, between September 22 and October 13, 2021, patrons may provide proof of a negative antigen test to attend an indoor social gathering associated with a wedding service, rite or ceremony or a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony in certain meeting or event spaces.
Other limited exemptions apply in meeting and event spaces (e.g., day camp, child care, social services, court services, government services).
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
An individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:
- The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines
- One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada
- Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada
- They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before providing the proof of being fully vaccinated.
What can I show as proof of vaccination?
Individuals aged 12 and over, unless otherwise exempted, can provide either a paper or digital copy of their vaccination receipt that demonstrates they are fully vaccinated. It must include their name, date of vaccination and product name (brand of vaccine) at the time of vaccination. A vaccination receipt includes any of the following:
- An Ontario vaccination receipt from a vaccine clinic when you received your dose (paper copy)
- A vaccination receipt signed by an Indigenous Health Provider
- An Ontario Ministry of Health vaccination receipt received by email following your appointment (digital or printed paper copy)
- Downloaded vaccination receipt from Ontario’s provincial booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (digital or printed paper copy)
- A vaccination receipt from another jurisdiction that shows the holder is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
You must also validate that the vaccine receipt is yours by providing identification issued by an institution or public body that includes your name and date of birth.
Do I need to bring both receipts or just my second dose receipt to show proof of vaccination?
A patron seeking access to a business or organization specified in the regulation must provide the receipt that shows that they are fully vaccinated.
Between September 22 and October 22, 2021, in addition to proof of identity, a patron must show a paper or digital version of the PDF receipt.
After October 22, 2021, in addition to proof of identity, a patron may present a paper or digital version of the PDF receipt or a paper or digital version of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code to gain access to designated settings.
I’m not comfortable showing all my personal information on my receipt. Am I able to block certain information out?
Altering the appearance of the receipt you receive as proof of vaccination in any way is not permitted and could render the receipt invalid.
The receipts that can be downloaded from the website have a watermark. Is that version required in order to have my proof of immunization accepted?
All versions of the receipt are acceptable as proof of vaccination when paired with proof of identification.
How can I get my proof of vaccination?
Currently, vaccine receipts are available in PDF form to be downloaded to your computer, phone or tablet, or printed. Individuals who have a green photo health card can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
How do I get my proof of vaccination if I have a red and white health card?
Individuals who have a red and white health card can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to arrange to receive their vaccine receipt by email.
How do I get my proof of vaccination if I don’t have a health card?
Individuals who do not have a health card can contact their local public health unit to have their identity verified and to receive a COVID ID/Personal Access Code. Individuals can then call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to provide this COVID ID in order to arrange to receive their vaccine receipt by email.
How do I get my proof of vaccination if I don’t have an address?
Individuals who do not have an address can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to arrange to receive their vaccination receipt delivered to a trusted friend, family member or community organization.
I want to print my vaccine receipt but don’t have a printer. What do I do?
The Ministry is working on additional supports and services to assist Ontario residents who need help obtaining proof of vaccination, including requesting a copy be sent by mail. Those who need support obtaining a copy of their vaccination receipt (e.g., no access to a computer or printer) can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Alternatively, individuals can visit their local library or ask a trusted friend or organization to help print a copy.
How do I get my vaccination receipt if I received my first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province/out of country?
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 an Ontario receipt that they can access or print from the provincial booking portal. Both proof of identity along with proof of vaccination will be required.
When can I download the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code?
Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification application 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 or organizations to read the QR code, will be available by October 22, 2021. Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination Guidance will be updated to reflect the new processes. Paper vaccination receipts will remain valid after October 22.
All Ontarians who registered their vaccines are encouraged to download their vaccine receipt as proof of their vaccine status in order to attend restaurants, nightclubs, sporting events, and other settings where people need to be fully vaccinated until an enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code is available.
What can I show as proof of identification?
Individuals must provide proof of identification so that the business or organization can ensure the vaccination receipt belongs to the person. The person’s identification must be issued by an institution or public body and show the name of the identification holder and their date of birth. A photo identification is not required.
Identification documents that may be used as proof of identification include:
- Birth certificate
- Citizenship card
- Driver’s licence
- Government (Ontario or other) issued identification card, including health card
- Indian Status Card /Indigenous Membership Card
- Permanent Resident card.
Validation of identification is considered to have been completed/successful when the name and date of birth of the presenter of the vaccination receipt and the name and date of birth on the identification document match. If the name and date of birth on both documents do not match, the individual will not be allowed to enter the business or organization.
Are there any alternatives for proof of identification that youth can show if they are not comfortable carrying around their passport or health card?
The identification requirements are flexible, and identification is required to confirm only name of the person and date of birth – government identification can be used for this purpose but is not required.
What happens if I ignore this requirement, or provide false or fraudulent documentation?
Individuals who do not provide proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated will not be permitted entry to the specified settings.
If you provide any information to a business or an organization to enter a setting where patrons are required by regulation to provide proof of identification and of being fully vaccinated, you must ensure that information is complete and accurate; failure to do so is an offence under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
If you are a business, please refer to the Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act document.
 Individuals may voluntarily offer an Ontario health card (issued under the Health Insurance Act) for identification purposes, however a person or entity who is not a health information custodian must not record or copy the health card number. Individuals have a right to refuse to provide their health cards. It is an offence under PHIPA to require the production of a health card or health card number in certain circumstances.
Further information regarding the use of Ontario health cards for confirming the identity of individuals is available from the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) at: https://www.ipc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/phipa-hfaq-cards-e.pdf. If you have any questions or concerns about the production of health cards or the collection, use or disclosure of health numbers, please contact the IPC at: [email protected].