Businesses seek standard on vaccination proof

THUNDER BAY — Anyone planning to travel to a different province for a concert or ballgame can be refused entrance to the event if they cannot prove having received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford encouraging the Canadian government to develop proof of immunization cards that can easily be used to confirm immunization for international or domestic use.

“We are also saying to the provincial government, if there is no national standard for proof of immunization, we think the Ontario government should look at the options for a proof of immunization card with a digital QR code,” said Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

“Right now it’s a little tricky with what’s acceptable. If there are going to be some different types of events or activities where proof of immunization is required in order to participate, what does that look like for us in Ontario?”

The QR code is the black and white square box, with smaller boxes in its corners, that is a machine-readable, optical barcode containing information about the item to which it is attached. If the card contains a QR code with your vaccination information on it, it can easily be scanned to verify that the card holder is immunized.

Robinson says businesses that run large events like the NHL, CFL or the concert circuit, are going to set their own rules.

“We need to make sure that whatever the government is providing is easy for Canadians to actually show, ‘yes I am vaccinated,’ if that becomes the requirement for access to some of these events,” she said.

In fact, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers have announced that they will only be selling tickets and allowing entry to people who have proof of double vaccination.

“The stadium is open at full capacity but only for double-vaccinated folks,” says Robinson. “If we are going to have people going from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg to go to a Blue Bombers game, what are they going to show them?”

Manitoba has already established a provincial proof of immunization card that they have put in place with QR codes.

“But what happens if you are from Ontario? Will they accept our little printout that we all picked up as we left the vaccination clinic?” asked Robinson. “We don’t know. We really need to know what those rules are and we are really encouraging the government — first federally — that we think there should be a national standard.”

She added that if that’s not going to be the case, we need to make sure that the province is providing something that would be recognized in other provinces.

“We believe it would be better to be a Canadian-wide approach,” she said.

If you have been vaccinated, you can also go onto the Ministry of Health website to download your vaccination file that can be printed out.

“But who wants to carry a large folded letter for proof on immunization?” asked Robinson.
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