As Ontario braces for a Delta-driven fourth wave of COVID-19, the government has announced that it will require people to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings.
Starting September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (meaning they must have received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior) and provide proof of vaccination, along with photo ID, to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
- 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).
These requirements won’t apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, such as patios, but will apply to outdoor nightclub spaces given the higher risk. They also won’t apply to settings where people receive medical care or to grocery stores, medical supplies stores, or similar settings. Indoor masking policies will remain in place.
Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note, until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated into a digital vaccine certificate. Individuals who are 11 years of age and under, and unable to be vaccinated, will also be exempt.
Ontario will develop additional tools, including alternatives for people with no email, health card or ID. As of September 22, Ontarians will be required to show their vaccine receipt when entering designated settings along with photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or health card. The province plans to introduce an enhanced digital vaccine receipt that features a QR code, which is safe, more secure and portable. It will also launch a new app to make it easier for businesses to read and verify that a digital vaccine receipt is valid.
Extension of Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
On August 31, 2021, the Ontario Government made and filed a regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, which extends the end date for the previously-announced Infectious Disease Emergency Leave from September 25, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This leave is codified in section 50.1 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
Extension of COVID-19 Supports
On August 11, 2021, the Government of Canada made and filed Regulation SOR/2021-204 under the Canada Recovery Benefits Act. This regulation extends the end date for the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovering Caregiving Benefit from September 25, 2021 to October 23, 2021.