ontario vaccine card

People are complaining about the Ontario vaccine card and it doesn't even exist yet

Ontario's plan to issue proof-of-vaccination cards to all residents who recieve the COVID-19 vaccine is, at this point, a concept — albeit one that the province has promised will come to fruition eventually.

Health Minister Christine Elliott revealed on Tuesday that the provincial government wants to issue "some sort of proof of vaccine" document to residents once they're immunized, which in itself hasn't ruffled many feathers.

It's what the card might be used for (or rather, required to gain access to) that has some people up in arms.

Elliot specified on Tuesday that the forthcoming government-issued cards will "be very important for people to have, for travel purposes and work purposes or going to theatres or cinemas or places where people will be in close contact as we get through the worst of the pandemic."

Questions about whether or not this would violate our civil liberties started popping up immediately, and they've been increasing in number and intensity on Twitter ever since.

Critics are panning the move (which, again, hasn't even officially been made yet) as Orwellian, tyrannical, and a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, among other things.

While Elliott confirmed on Tuesday vaccination will be voluntary for all Ontario residents, she also warned that people who don't get vaccinated could be banned from participating in certain activities once things go back to (the new) normal.

"Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says that vaccines will be voluntary... yet may be required for travel, work, or entertainment (ie theatres, concerts, etc.) and that proof of vaccination may be required," wrote one outraged Twitter user. "DOESN'T SOUND SO VOLUNTARY ANYMORE DOES IT?"

"Proof of vaccination card otherwise you're limited from some basic activities? How can Canadians, in Ontario for now but later surely elsewhere, and more importantly, [Premier Ford] and [Elliott] allow such discrimination?" wrote another.

The topic of "immunity passports" has come up in other jurisdictions recently as countries around the world prepare to start mass-inoculating their populations against the coronavirus.

Many on Twitter seem downright convienced that forcing us to show proof of vaccination to enter, say, a movie theatre, is discriminatory and illegal.

At the same time, some of these people seem to believe that we'll need such cards to so much as leave our own homes (which isn't true. We can leave our homes right now, even under lockdown, for many essential reasons.)

Is there any truth to the claims, though, that forcing people to show some sort of vaccine ID before hopping on a plane or entering a restaurant is discriminatory?  

Depending on how it's rolled out, experts say it could be.

"This is not only logistically challenging but very ethically fraught," said University of Toronto bioethics professor Alison Thompson to Global News this week.

"Simply giving someone a piece of paper to say they've been immunized is a lot different from making it a prerequisite for attending a concert or riding the transport system."

There's also a difference between airlines requiring vaccines to ensure safe individual travel and individual private establishments requiring proof-of-vaccination for entry.

Ditto for employers making their workers get immunized in order to keep their jobs.

"If an employer wants to make this type of document mandatory, that becomes a discrimination issue based on immune status for employability or returning to work," said Thompson to Global.

"All of this gets into some pretty murky territory ethically."

There's plenty of debate to be found online about whether or not an immunity card or passport should be mandatory, but one thing's for certain: Criminals will try to capitalize on the system however they can.

Fake "COVID-19 vaccine cards" are reportedly already popping up for sale on social media sites in the U.K., similar to the fake "mask exemption cards" that caused a spot of trouble in Ontario over the summer.

The difference is that "mask exemption cards" were never actually a thing — anti-lockdowners simply started printing and distributing. The British government's vaccine proof cards, on the other hand, seem quite easy to duplicate.

Lead photo by

Alberta Newsroom

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