vaccine passport

Businesses in Ontario want vaccine passports but Doug Ford has said no

More and more groups representing businesses in Ontario are calling on Doug Ford to introduce some sort of vaccine passport system to ensure that if there are COVID outbreaks or dramatic case spikes moving forward, they can remain open instead of having to lock down yet again.

The measure has been a contentious one that has divided officials in the province, though Premier Doug Ford has remained steadfastly opposed to the concept, insisting that he will not have a "split society" despite the fact that he continues to entreat all eligible residents to get fully immunized ASAP if they haven't already.

Provinces such as Quebec, meanwhile, are rolling out proof of vaccination system in the coming weeks that will necessitate customers be fully immunized against the virus to enter certain businesses and partake in certain activities in some circumstances.

The idea is to avoid completely shutting down sectors of the economy if transmission worsens again during a potential fourth wave, and instead limit high-risk settings such as gyms to double vaxxed patrons only.

It's also to permit those who have made the effort to get their shots to live a "quasi-normal life," Quebec Premier François Legault has said.

Manitoba has already implemented such a program, while governments B.C., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are reviewing doing something similar.

In Ontario, despite Ford's stance, multiple small businesses, the leaders and groups that represent them, doctors and politicians such as Toronto Mayor John Tory have asked that Ontario likewise get behind some sort of vaccine passport.

The latest are the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, representatives of which have now this week publicly expressed a desire in such a program, especially as case counts slowly rise.

A member of CFIB told the Globe on Monday that the organization would support a proof of vaccination system if it meant businesses could remain open rather than facing the lockdown restrictions we saw earlier in the pandemic in the case of more drastic COVID-19 numbers.

The Chamber told the news outlet that lockdowns show that the government is already okay with limiting individual rights for the sake of public health, and a "practical tool" such as a vaccine passport would be much in the same vein and to the same end — keeping people safe and mitigating COVID-19 spread, while also allowing businesses to survive.

Though Ford has staunchly rejected the measure, other members of team have been pretty inconsistent and vague when addressing questions on the subject.

Health Minister Christine Elliott, for example, said in 2020 that "some sort of proof of vaccine" document will be "very important to have" for certin situations moving forward, then called such a program a matter of federal jurisdiction, not provincial.

Elliott's office has also pointed out that Ontarians can already access a receipt of their shot, whether printed or virtual, as though the province is not requiring this proof for anything, some businesses and workplaces are choosing do so themselves.

Lead photo by

@fordnation


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