|Starting today, October 15, 2021, Ontario’s enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificates with scannable QR codes and the Verify Ontario app (to scan the vaccine certificate QR codes) will be available for download. The enhanced vaccine certificate will make it more convenient for people to prove they have been fully vaccinated. Combined with the free Verify Ontario app for businesses and organizations, it will also make the process of proving and verifying vaccination status faster, easier, and more secure.
Obtaining Your Vaccine Certificate:
The vaccine certificate will be available for download from the COVID-19 vaccination portal beginning October 15 (green photo health card required). It will initially be made available for download in cohorts based on an individual’s birth month over a period of 3 days:
Starting October 18 at 6:00 am, the portal will be open for any individual to download their vaccine certificates, regardless of birth month.
- October 15, 12:00 am to 11:59 pm: all individuals born between January and April
- October 16, 12:00 am to 11:59 pm: all individuals born between May and August
- October 17, 12:00 am to 11:59 pm: all individuals born between September and December
People can save the electronic version of their vaccine certificate to their mobile device or print a paper copy. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.
While vaccine receipts will continue to be accepted, the existing vaccine receipt will no longer be available for download from the COVID-19 vaccination portal as of October 15.
Individuals with a red and white health card or who wish to have their vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. This line is available from 8:00 am to 8:0 0pm, 7 days a week, with information available in over 300 languages.
The vaccine certificate (downloadable from the COVID-19 vaccination portal) is the official QR code-based proof of vaccination issued by the Government of Ontario. Third-party QR codes will not be compatible with the Verify Ontario app and cannot be used to access prescribed settings.
Out-of-Province/Country Vaccine Doses: Obtaining Your Proof of Vaccination
If you received your first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose out-of-province or out-of-country, contact your local public health unit. They will record your information and you will receive an Ontario receipt that you can access or print from the provincial booking portal.
Vaccine Certificate for People Not Fully Vaccinated
If you are not yet fully vaccinated (2 doses plus 14 days), you can still download your vaccine certificate. However, when scanned by the Verify Ontario app, the QR code will not generate approval (I.e., the check mark) to enter a prescribed setting.
See the guidance here for full details about who is considered fully vaccinated in Ontario, including for people who have received vaccine doses not approved by Health Canada.
Medical Exemptions and the Vaccine Certificate
At this time, the province is working to integrate medical exemptions into the vaccine certificate. Currently, people with a medical exemption can present a note from a medical doctor or registered nurse. A sample template is available here.
Out-of-province or out-of-country medical documentation will be honoured in Ontario if the individual’s name, the physician’s name, and physician’s contact information are provided. The note must clearly state that there is a medical reason for the individual not to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time-period for the medical reason.
Using Your Vaccine Certificate:
People will need to continue to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with the vaccine certificate. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.
People can continue to use their current vaccine receipt (along with a piece of ID) and businesses will continue to accept them.
The Verify Ontario/VérifOntario App for Businesses and Organizations
Verify Ontario is a free QR code scanner for businesses that makes it quicker and easier to confirm that visitors have been fully vaccinated:
When scanning the government-issued vaccine certificate QR code, the Verify Ontario app will:
- Available in English and French
- Verify Ontario works on Apple and Android devices
- Can be used without an internet connection but should be connected to the internet periodically to receive updates
- Scans government-issued QR codes presented either on paper or displayed on a mobile device screen
- Compatible with other provincial QR codes – starting with British Columbia and Quebec
- Never stores personal information
Verify Ontario is the only app that the Government of Ontario endorses for use. It is currently available for download from the Google Play and Apple App stores.
- Display a check mark if the individual is fully vaccinated, as well as their name and date of birth. It will not display the type of vaccine received. The person scanning the QR code will be prompted to confirm that the person’s name and DOB (date of birth) match their ID
- Display an ‘X’ if the individual is not fully vaccinated. Prompts will be provided about next steps.
- Display an error message if the QR code is issued by a different province/country not using a compatible system or if the QR code is issued by a third-party service. Prompts will be provided about next steps.
- After scanning the QR code and displaying the results, the Verify Ontario app will automatically reset to the homepage to protect personal data
Information Source: TIAO Newsletter October 15, 2021