Premier Ford reveals QR code details of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine certificates

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Ontario is making the QR codes of COVID-19 vaccine certificates available for download from the next three days, starting Friday morning with those born between January and April before expanding to more residents.

a update added to Ontario Health website Last night’s initial and phased three-day rollout is intended to ensure a “smooth user experience” for those who want to download their enhanced certificate as soon as possible.

Ontarians whose birthdays have fallen in the first four months of the year were able to download their QR codes as early as 12 p.m. ET today.

The next phases of the initial deployment include:

  • May to August: October 16
  • September to December: 17 october

Starting at 6 a.m. on October 18, all Ontarians who have been vaccinated will be able to download enhanced vaccination certificates.

To be clear, enhanced certificates are not required. Ontarians can continue to use their current vaccine receipt if they wish.

An example of Ontario’s new and improved COVID-19 vaccine certificates including a scannable QR code. (Government of Ontario)

At a media briefing on Friday, officials said the purpose of the QR code system is to make the vaccination status verification process more efficient for businesses, while being safer for the public.

You can read the full briefing provided to the media at the bottom of this article.

“They mean we can provide businesses with the convenience of continuing to operate safely. They mean we can keep doing the things we want without losing the gains we’ve made, ”Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a morning press conference.

“The goal is to avoid future lockdowns.”

The province says QR codes will reveal less personal information than current vaccine receipts.

QR codes include a person’s name, date of birth, and whether they received two doses of the vaccine, with their last injection at least 14 days before. It does not contain the brand (s) of vaccine (s) a person received, nor the exact dates of their injections. This information is included on the enhanced certificate itself, but is not transmitted via QR codes.

Those who download an enhanced certificate can either store it on their smartphones or use physical copies, which can also be scanned.

Officials said the Verify Ontario app that businesses will use to verify QR codes does not store any personal information. It was developed in-house by the province and has been posted online as free software. It works on Apple and Android devices produced around 2014 and later.

Verify Ontario went live yesterday, rolling out to the Google and Apple app stores. Once the code is scanned, a green check mark will appear indicating a valid vaccine certificate, a red X for an invalid certificate, or a yellow warning for a QR that cannot be read.

An example of the possible messages a business will see when a customer’s QR code is scanned. (Province of Ontario)

Those hoping to get into a business impacted by the province’s vaccine requirements will also need to show approved physical identification that matches the name and date of birth in the QR code.

The intention is that eventually the app and QR codes will be compatible with those used in other provinces and territories, although it will likely be weeks or months before this process is complete, said. managers during the information meeting.

The province is working to include valid medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines in QR codes, but officials could not say when this feature could be rolled out.

However, organizations and businesses requiring proof of vaccination will still need to accept currently used vaccination receipts and will not be required to use Verify Ontario.

Under the Ontario program, only those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – or have a valid medical exemption from a physician – can access certain settings, such as theaters, nightclubs and the dining rooms of the restaurants.

On Wednesday, CBC News first announced that the Ontario government would announce plans to exit the Roadmap to reopen next week.

Further easing of pandemic measures will include ending capacity limits in all places where proof of vaccination requirements are in place, such as restaurants, bars and gyms, a senior official said. of the government.

About 83.2 percent of eligible people in the province have now received two doses of the vaccine.

Ford asks healthcare organizations for their views on mandate for hospital vaccines

Ford has written to hospital CEOs, local medical officers of health and other healthcare organizations asking for their views on implementing vaccination mandates for hospital staff.

Many hospitals in the province have already adopted their own mandates, going beyond the current provincial policy of having hospital staff vaccinated or undergoing frequent testing.

Several hospitals have fired some staff who had not been vaccinated by the deadline or put them on unpaid leave, although they say the numbers are such that it does not affect operations or patient care. patients.

Ford’s letter says some have suggested a province-wide mandate is needed, but he says it’s important to balance the risks posed by COVID-19 with any strain on staff resources.

He asks health officials for their views on questions regarding the potential impacts of an immunization mandate, what more the government could do to increase immunization among healthcare workers, and whether staff unvaccinated could be reassigned to non-frontline roles.

Ford is also asking CEOs of hospitals what impact a mandatory policy would have on diagnostic procedures or elective surgeries.


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