A vaccine certificate program will be introduced by the Ford government early next week, sources with knowledge of the situation tell 680 NEWS.
It’s not clear what form the proof of vaccine program may take, or how it may be implemented. The premier and his cabinet are meeting over the next few days to hash out those details.
Premier Doug Ford has long pushed back against the idea of a vaccine certificate or passport system in Ontario. When asked about it on July 15th the premier said, “The answer is no, we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to have a split society,”
On Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office said the province is sticking with what’s already available.
“Since the start of our vaccine rollout, Ontarians have had the ability to download or print an electronic COVID-19 vaccine receipt through the provincial portal, or by calling the provincial booking line, should proof of vaccination be required in a certain setting.”
Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner called on Ford to stop “governing by delays, teasers and half measures,” adding this announcement should have been made weeks ago.
“It’s time to put the politics and ideology aside and listen to public health experts on the best way to implement a vaccine certificate that is accessible, secure and effective,” he said in a statement.
Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said he would continue to urge Ford to make this happen as soon as possible.
“I have been calling for this for more than a month alongside a wide coalition of partners and stakeholders. It is the right thing to do to keep Ontario families safe during the fourth wave,” he said in a statement.
Premier Ford and his government have been under increased pressure to institute a proof of vaccine system. On Friday Justin Trudeau said that Ford should “step up” and introduce a vaccine passport during a federal election campaign stop in Toronto.
Local medical officers of health have also said that they may move ahead with their own regional vaccine certificate programs. Peel Region’s top doctor renewed calls this week for the province to enact some sort of proof-of-vaccination.
Numerous health organizations have also called for the province to institute a proof of vaccine system and other provinces are already moving ahead with it. Quebec and British Columbia plan on instituting vaccine passports or documents.