The premier's office says Ontario businesses will be able to use the federal vaccine passport as proof of vaccination, marking a departure from Doug Ford's previous opposition to the domestic use of vaccine passports.
The executive director of media relations for the premier gave no details except to confirm that businesses will be allowed to use the forthcoming passports for proof of vaccination, "as they can with our current proof of vaccination."
The province has been relying on a PDF document that fully vaccinated residents receive as the only option for proving vaccine status, despite criticisms that the documents can be easily forged and more sophisticated technology would be required to make verifying vaccination status workable.
But previously, Premier Ford had ruled out offering anything other than the second-dose receipt as proof of vaccination.
“I’ve never believed in proof,” Ford said, going on to say that everyone gets vaccine proof after their shot and anything can be fraudulent, including money. “The answer is no. We aren’t going to do it. We aren’t going to have a split society.”
But the federal government confirmed on Wednesday that it was working with provinces to develop a vaccine passport that could be used for international travel, which is expected by early fall. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc indicated it would be up to the provincial governments to decide if and how the federal passports should be used domestically within provinces.
Ford has faced mounting calls to implement some kind of provincial vaccine passport from opposition politicians as well stakeholder groups including the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Ontario Medical Association, Ontario Chamber of Commerce and groups representing long-term care home and retirement operators.
With files from Sneh Duggal