TORONTO — After mounting calls by unions, local medical officers and health care workers the Ontario government established a province-wide COVID-19 vaccine certificate system.
“Today’s announcement is crucial in keeping us safe as we continue to fight against the fourth wave,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Despite its promising start to vaccination, Canada is far from ending the COVID-19 crisis. Vaccine certificate systems will help to protect workers and speed up the post-pandemic economic recovery.”
The new COVID-19 vaccine certificate system will serve as a hub to provide proof of vaccination to access events, and gain entrance to non-essential businesses such as indoor restaurants, gaming facilities, gyms and movie theatres. The new system will come into effect September 22, initially using existing vaccine receipts issued by the government paired with valid photo ID. The government is working on an app that will allow people to display their verified vaccination status that is expected to be rolled out by October. The new rules would not apply to outdoor restaurant patios or retail stores.
Unifor has encouraged governments to consider all available options to enable the safe restart of services and to move unemployed workers back into jobs. This includes the implementation of certificates of vaccination in sectors where similar programs already exist.
In May of this year, Unifor’s National Executive Board unanimously endorsed a statement entitled Vaccine Certificates and Considerations to Guide the Re-Opening of Canada’s Economy.
“Ontario’s new COVID-19 vaccine certificate system is a step in the right direction,” said Unifor Ontario Regional Director, Naureen Rizvi. “After almost a year and a half of cancelled concerts, cancelled sporting events and restricted air travel, Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine certificate system will help reduce the spread of the virus and allow workers and patrons a safe space to access services that were closed or restricted due to the pandemic.”
Vaccines certificate programs have been introduced in several provinces, including B.C., Quebec and Manitoba. Unifor continues to call on all levels of government to work together to establish a framework and clear guidelines that support a seamless and consistent application of certificates that best coordinates a beneficial restart to the Canadian economy.