vaccine passport

Mayor John Tory is urging Doug Ford to create a plan for vaccine passports

With the recent confirmation that Quebec will be implementing a vaccine passport in the coming weeks, Ontario residents are wondering if Premier Doug Ford — who has expressed staunch opposition to the idea here — will change his tune.

While business leaders have called for the measure to help ensure they can screen customers and remain open if outbreaks and case surges take place down the line, governmental officials remain divided.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott has flip-flopped between saying at one point that "some sort of proof of vaccine" document will be "very important to have" for certain activities and settings moving forward, and then deeming such a program to be a matter of federal jurisdiction, not provincial.

Meanwhile, new Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has said a vaccine passport was never in the cards for the province, reinforcing Ford's statement that Ontario is definitively "not gonna do it" despite the fact that he's imploring everyone to get fully immunized against the virus.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones likewise agreed last month that there will be "no parameter where you would need proof [of inoculation] to do anything" in Ontario.

The mayor of the province's biggest city, meanwhile, has appeared to get increasingly vocal on the issue, and is siding with local businesses who are of the opinion that a vaccine passport will be a necessary step that the province will have to take at some point soon.

John Tory pointed out that seeing as the federal government is asking people to show that they've been vaccinated for things like travel, health authorities already have to provide "something" for people to be able to prove that — and this something could be used as a vaccine passport, for lack of a better term.

"Only the province can provide that proof," he added in an interview with CP24 on July 14.

He touched on the subject with the news outlet once again on Aug. 6, saying that "somebody has to come down with some sort of a plan, and logically I think that's going to come more to the province."

"We need an overall plan," he continued, adding that at the moment all we have now in Ontario is a "patchwork" type of situation where various settings and workplaces in different regions — such as University Health Network, which is requiring staff to prove they're fully vaxxed or get tested for COVID-19 daily — have different ways of doing things.

He believes this will ultimately lead to chaos and confusion, which poses a danger as a surge of cases is very well possible.

"We're going to see some kind of a surge. The question is can we keep it small by having more people vaccinated," Tory said.

As of Friday, approximately 81 per cent of eligible citizens of Ontario have received at least one dose of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine, while 71.4 per cent have had both jabs.

These figures unfortuately fall below the criteria for the province to graduate out of Step 3 of its 3-step reopening framework, which it was otherwise eligible to do so today.

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