Skip to Main Content

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: The Last Mile

The Government of Ontario has released guidance on the vaccine certificate and proof of vaccination. As of September 22, 2021, the government will require patrons to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status and proof of ID to enter certain businesses and organizations, with a focus on higher-risk indoor public settings. Requiring proof of vaccination to enter the specified businesses and organizations is based on the risk of the setting and aligns with the goals of overall provincial response to COVID-19 by: 

  • Limiting COVID-19 transmission and outbreaks 
  • Encouraging vaccination 
  • Supporting Ontario’s businesses in remaining open 

The government has also set new targets to beat the Delta variant of COVID-19, they have set a target rate of 90% of the eligible population (12+) to have received their first dose and second dose of a vaccine. These new targets are not for exiting Step 3 and capacity limits are remaining the same. 

In regards to the proof of vaccination general guidelines, the proof of vaccination rules are for patrons only, not staff, businesses can implement their own proof of vaccination policy if not covered by these regulations, but need to seek their own legal advice. Additionally, other public health and workplace safety measures will still apply, including masking, screening, and track and trace. 

In order to be considered ‘fully vaccinated,’ patrons must have received: 

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada  
  • Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson   
  • A combination of doses of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada  
  • One dose of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine plus one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine not approved by Health Canada   
  • 3 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada  
  • PLUS 14 days elapsed since the 2nd dose by the time proof of vaccination provided  
  • Trial vaccines will NOT be accepted** 

Providing Proof of Vaccination  

  • Proof of vaccination can be shown on paper or on mobile device (e.g., PDF)  
  • Accepted ID does not need to be photo ID – only requires name & DOB (information must match proof of vaccination document)  
  • Accepted forms of ID:  
  • Birth certificate   
  • Citizenship card   
  • Driver's licence   
  • Government-issued ID card (Ontario issued or other), including health card   
  • Indian status card/indigenous membership card   
  • Passport   
  • Permanent resident card 
  • The patron must provide proof of being fully vaccinated and proof of ID at the point of entry to the required setting   
  • Patrons cannot pre-display or upload proof of vaccination: no data retention of data allowed   
  • The business or organization must review and confirm proof of ID and vaccination – they are responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements to check for proof of vaccination and ID from patrons  
  • The patron seeking entry is solely responsible for demonstrating that they are legitimate holders of the vaccination receipt  
  • Patrons are not allowed to enter a business or organization if the name and DOB on both documents do not match 

Below is a list of the businesses and organizations in which proof of vaccination will be required: 

  • Indoor areas of commercial film & TV productions w/ studio audiences
  • Indoor areas of waterparks 
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres, cinemas   
  • Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, other food & drink establishments (excluding outdoor patios & takeout)  
  • Indoor food service/food courts (e,g., café at costco)   
  • Indoor AND outdoor areas of food & drink establishments with dance facilities (e.g., nightclubs, restoclubs; excluding takeout)  
  • Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks, & other similar venues  
  • Indoor areas where spectators watch sporting events   
  • Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls, other gaming establishments  
  • Indoor areas of facilities for sports & recreational fitness activities, including personal fitness training  
  • Indoor meeting & event spaces (e.g., banquet halls, conference/convention centres) 

Proof of Vaccination Exemption: 

  • Children under 12    
  • Patrons under 18 entering the indoor premises of a sports and recreational facility in order to participate in an organized sport ONLY   
  • Patrons with a medical exemption (must present ID AND written document) – must have written documentation from a doctor or nurse stating they are exempt for a medical reason from COVID-19 vaccination 
  • At weddings, funerals, rites, and ceremonies you do not need to show proof of vaccination if: 
  • The service is held in a meeting or event space and you are attending the wedding funeral, rite, or ceremony but not the social gathering (e.g., reception) 
  • The associated social gathering is held in a business licensed under the Funeral, Burial, and Cremation Services Act 

Enforcement of Proof of Vaccination: 

  • All provincial offence officers: by-law, police, public health inspectors, regulatory officers from ministries & agencies can enforce proof of vaccination 
  • Non-compliance by individuals and business can result in charges & fines   
  • Provincial offence officers may take a measured approach to enforcing orders that balance public safety, health, & other risks businesses owners are managing   
  • Starting this week, officers are visiting businesses and organizations to raise awareness of new proof of vaccination requirements   
  • The government will also provide information on tools and resources to help businesses and organizations implement the necessary COVID-19 safety plan measures – e.g., workplace violence & harassment measures   
  • In the event of harassment or threats of violence, contact law enforcement 

For more information on the vaccine certificate, please read the following: 

Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act (gov.on.ca) 

Vaccine Update: The Last Mile Technical Briefing

MOH briefing on vaccine certificate


 September 14, 2021