Doug Ford assures people in Ontario that vaccine passports are only temporary
Starting tomorrow, Sept. 22, Ontario will join B.C., Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and soon both Newfoundland & Labrador and Saskatchewan in introducing some type of vaccine passport system for residents to engage in certain activities in select settings.
But, lawmakers have maintained that they understand where critics are coming from, and, in the case of Premier Doug Ford, have reassured the public that the measure will only be temporary.
Following yesterday's federal election, Ford issued a statement congratulating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals on their minority win, and also calling for greater unity among Canadians.
"For many, this has been an extremely difficult and divisive election and I would like to take this opportunity to urge unity. Emotions have run high as candidates from all parties debated pandemic policies, including vaccine certificates," he wrote.
He then went on to touch on the topic of said certificates, calling them one of multiple "exceptional measures" that are only being introduced "on a temporary basis" that will end "as soon as they can be responsibly removed."
"There are a lot of people who are concerned about this policy and I want you to know that I hear you. I understand your concerns about protecting your civil liberties and right to privacy," Ford wrote.
"While many fully vaccinated people like myself share these concerns, the greater concern is having to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases like in Alberta and Saskatchewan."
The idea of proof of vaccination is to prevent further business closures and lockdowns — which some experts have said may be inevitable come fall, but which Ford has said will never happen again — by limiting who can enter specific indoor settings that have been deemed higher risk for transmission.
At present, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients hospitalized (77 per cent) or in the ICU (86 per cent) in Ontario are unvaccinated. There has indeed been a spike in bookings for jabs since the announcement of the passport 20 days ago, but not as much as the province's health panel had hoped.
Meanwhile, frontline workers have condemned anti-vaxpass demonstrators who have been threatening and harassing them while also impacting their work and access to healthcare facilities.
"Health workers in those facilities, patients in need of care services and the families accompanying them all have enough stress already. They don't need hostile people calling to ignore health advice and scientific knowledge, shouting misinformation and yelling obscenities," the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario wrote in a statement on Sept. 7.
"This appalling behaviour has no place in our society at any time and especially not in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 9,545 people in Ontario."
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