Ontario officials stand divided on the idea of vaccine passports
Though the government of Ontario late last year alluded to a future vaccine passport or card of some sort that would eventually come into play for residents, officials are now appearing to flip-flop regarding the idea while other provinces take firmer stances on whether they will employ such a measure.
Health Minister Christine Elliott had said in December that leadership intended to issue "some sort of proof of vaccine" document to residents that would be "very important to have" for certain activities and settings, but earlier this month asserted such a move would actually be a matter of federal jurisdiction, not provincial.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's new Chief Medical Officer of Health, likewise stated during a press conference yesterday that a vaccine passport has not been contemplated by the province at all.
"I don't think it's necessary at this point given that Ontarians are coming forward and getting immunized at such a great rate," he said, citing the fact that 79 per cent of adults in the province have at least one dose, and 57 per cent are now fully vaxxed.
Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore says he doesn’t think the province needs to implement a vaccine passport. pic.twitter.com/HXtMFeyKaP— Brian Lilley (@brianlilley) July 13, 2021
Other members of Premier Doug Ford's team, including Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, have agreed, adding that "we are encouraging people to get vaccinated, but there's no parameter where you would need proof to do anything."
But groups such as the Toronto Region Board of Trade are calling on the government to consider some sort of program that would use proof of vaccination to help people stay safer in some non-essential sectors and settings, such as at business conferences, at tourist destinations and indoors at bars and restaurants.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also shares that sentiment.
"The bottom line is that if there are people including government who are going to ask you to show that you've been vaccinated or not as just a practical means, then the same government, the provincial government in this case, has to provide something to people to be able to show they’ve been vaccinated," Tory said during an interview with CP24 on Wednesday.
"People are going to need in some case, even if it’s just to get back into the country without quarantining, proof that they have been vaccinated and only the province can provide that proof."
Of course, John Tory, supports vaccine passports. This has not been proposed by our provincial medical experts, but by Justin Trudeau's APEC-appointed, Jan De Silva, so we can "safely" have business conferences. Yes, how will we ever have a CONFERENCE again without a passport? 🙄 pic.twitter.com/ZigE2D6fkL— Tim (@TimDdnb) July 14, 2021
But, as it stands now, it appears that it will be up to individual businesses and not the province itself to verify vaccination if they so choose — something that Jones explicitly stated in her presser today, inferring that the email or slip of paper that residents receive is something establishments could rely upon if they so choose.
"If individual businesses want to make a determination that only fully vaccinated individuals can go into their place of business, then they will make that determination, and a decision will be made about whether you will want to disclose," she said.
Toronto Schools such as Seneca College and establishments such as Filmores strip club have already stepped up to do so in lieu of a government-led initiative, like the one somewhat controversially moving ahead in Quebec.
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