‘There are real-world consequences of not acting,’ says premier on eve of vaccine certificate system

Proof-of-vaccination system begins 12:01 a.m. Wednesday

Premier Doug Ford acknowledged concerns some people have about protecting civil liberties and the right to privacy as the province’s vaccine certificate system begins on Wednesday.

“While many fully vaccinated people like myself share these concerns, the greater concern is having to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases like in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” the premier said in a statement on Tuesday, which also contained congratulations to Justin Trudeau on his re-election as prime minister.

“This pandemic remains an emergency and there are real-world consequences of not acting. We must continue to do everything we can to protect our hard-fought progress so that we can provide businesses the stability they need and deserve. We need to do everything in our power to avoid future lockdowns and closures. That is why we are bringing in these exceptional measures on a temporary basis and will end them as soon as they can be responsibly removed,” the statement said.

Effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Ontarians 12 years of age and older will be required to be fully vaccinated to enter non-essential businesses and facilities, such as gyms, indoor dining, bars and theatres. Residents will need to provide a copy of the vaccine receipt they received when they got their second jab, along with a piece of photo ID.

 “I want to be clear: COVID-19 doesn’t care about partisanship or politics and I will continue to work closely with the Prime Minister. People elected our government to work in the best interests of Ontario, not in service of one political party over others. That’s exactly what our government will continue to do as we do everything possible to protect our people and our progress,” said Ford.

During a media briefing in mid-July, the premier issued his strongest statement against the creation of a vaccine certificate system.

“The answer is no; we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to have a split society,” Ford told reporters in response to a question about creating vaccine passports Thursday at the first press conference he has held in some time.

In announcing the rollout of a proof-of-vaccination program on Sept. 1, the premier said the new system came from “in-depth conversations” with experts based on “evidence and best advice.”

“We need to protect our hospitals; we need to avoid lockdowns at all costs. We want our kids in schools, and our businesses to stay open,” he said.

There are limited exceptions such as grocery stores, as well as hair salons and places of worship.