vaccine passport exemptions ontario

Here's the full list of exemptions for Ontario's vaccine passport program

Vaccine passport exemptions in Ontario have been revealed, and you may be surprised by some of the situations in which you don't have to produce a certificate proving you've been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Starting September 22 (next Wednesday), you'll need to show this specific proof-of-immunization document to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and more... for the most part.

This afternoon, the provincial government released further, more detailed instructions regarding their forthcoming mandatory vaccine passport program, outlining what business owners and patrons must do to play by the rules.

Officials are essentially asking that, before entering a number of non-essential settings, people show both a form of ID and a printed or digital PDF copy of a provincial booking portal receipt for their second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

People 12 and under, who are not yet eligible to be immunized in Canada, and people with valid medical exemptions can skip this process, but — much to the surprise of Ontarians today — so too can a whole lot of other people under certain circumstances.

Stopping into your favourite sushi joint to pick up a takeout order? You don't have to show a vaccine. Running in to use the washroom at a cafe while you're out shopping? No proof-of-immunization required.

Regulations released by the provincial government today indicate that people don't need to prove that they're vaccinated to enter high-risk indoor settings if they're making retail purchases, buying tickets for something, or even placing bets at a horse racing track.

Here, per the province, is the full list of people and situations to which Reg. 364/20 (the vaccine passport) do not apply.

People who are exempt from the vaccine passport
  • Workers, contractors, repair workers, delivery workers, students, volunteers, inspectors or others who are entering the business or organization for work purposes and not as patrons.
  • Children under 12 years of age.
Patrons (customers) are exempt from the vaccine passport if they are entering an indoor area solely for these reasons
  • to use a washroom;
  • to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route;
  • to make a retail purchase;
  • while placing or picking up an order, including placing a bet or; picking up winnings in the case of a horse racing track;
  • while paying for an order;
  • to purchase admission;
  • as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
Other exemptions
  • Patrons under 18 years of age who are entering the indoor premises of a facility used for sports and recreational fitness activities solely for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport, including training, practices, games and competitions. This exemption does not apply to youth who are spectators at sporting events, but it does apply to workers, volunteers, coaches and officials of any age.
  • Patrons who are entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space, including a conference centre or convention centre, solely for the purposes of attending a wedding service, rite or ceremony or a funeral service, rite or ceremony, but not an associated social gathering.
  • Patrons who are entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space that is located in a place of worship or in a funeral establishment, cemetery, crematorium or similar establishment that provides funeral, cemetery or cremation services... for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony.
  • Patrons who are entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space other than a place described above, including a conference centre or convention centre, for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a wedding service, rite or ceremony or a social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony, on or after September 22, 2021, but before October 13, 2021, as long as the patron produces the results of an antigen test administered within the previous 48 hours establishing that the person is negative for COVID-19 to the person responsible for the establishment.
  • Patrons who provide a written document, completed and supplied by a physician or by a registered nurse in the extended class stating
    that the individual is exempt for a medical reason from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time period for the medical reason.

There are additional rules to consider for people with medical exemptions before visiting a business that falls under vaccine passport regulations.

According to the province, someone with a medical exemption is required to present identification and a written document stating that they are exempt for a medical reason to the business in question.

The business organization must then review both documents to ensure that the name of the person on the exemption letter matches their ID and that they have with them the full information of the doctor or nurse who provided the letter to them.

All other public health measures under Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, such as masking and physical distancing, will continue to apply to all patrons, regardless of who they are or why they visit an establishment.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at The Real McCoy

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