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Ontario COVID-19 science table releases recommendations on vaccine certificates

Last Updated Jul 22, 2021 at 7:58 am PDT

People receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination clinic at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday, June 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table says vaccine certificates could allow for reopening high-risk settings sooner

21-page brief outlining recommendations was released Wednesday

Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table has released its recommendations on whether the province should be issuing a vaccine certificate to those who have been fully vaccinated.

The 21-page brief released Wednesday suggests they could allow for the reopening of high-risk settings sooner and/or at increased capacity.

It says the certificate could be used to regulate entry into high-risk locations including gyms, restaurants, cultural and sports events and could also be used in settings like schools and workplaces that require mandatory vaccination.

The science table brief says on a longer-term basis, vaccine certificates can serve as a verifiable, secure, standardized, accessible and portable records of immunization.

The report also said given the “anticipated seasonality” of COVID-19 as well as variants of concern, implementing a vaccine certificate could be useful if public health measures need to be reintroduced.

It also acknowledges there are important legal, ethical, privacy and accessibility issues that would need to be addressed should the vaccine certificates be issued.

Premier Doug Ford has been strongly opposed to the idea of a vaccine passport, saying, “We’re not going to have a split society.”

“I’ve never believed in proof. Everyone gets their proof when they get the vaccination,” said Ford last week.

The Toronto Region Board of Trade has called on the Ontario government this week to introduce a vaccine passport system for non-essential business activity.

It also comes as Quebec moves to impose their own vaccine-passport system in September in areas where COVID-19 outbreaks occur, requiring people to prove they are vaccinated to enter places such as gyms and bars.

You can read the full brief from the Ontario COVID-19 science advisory table below:

COVID-19 Science Advisory Table on Vaccine Certifications by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke with CityNews Thursday morning and would not say whether he supported vaccine certificates or not, but said he believes it is worth having the discussion.

“We should have a practical discussion involving businesses, public organizations like education boards and unions, and public health people … so we are prepared to deal with it,” said Tory.

“I’m glad the public health table is at least looking at this, I think it’s a very practical concern.”