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Ontario's vaccine passport system welcomed for high-risk settings, yet further guidance required

Ontario Chamber seeks further guidance on passport implementation and workplace vaccination policies for business


TORONTO – Sept. 1, 2021: Today, Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), released the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s announcement of a vaccine ‘passport’:  

“We support the implementation of a provincial vaccination certificate for high-risk indoor settings that is verifiable, secure, standardized, accessible, and portable, as recommended by Ontario’s Science Table. We are now in the fourth wave and COVID-19 vaccination is the single greatest risk mitigation tool against a resurgence of the virus. A well-designed vaccine passport system can help prevent another province-wide lockdown, which would be devastating for businesses and the economy. COVID-19 vaccination mandates for permitted entry in high-risk commercial spaces are key to preventing viral spread, protecting the most vulnerable groups, and ensuring the success of our economy.

“Provinces with a vaccine passport system in place will also experience higher economic growth, greater consumer and business confidence, and reduced risk of further lockdowns, when compared to those without a domestic passport system according to TD Bank. Implementing a proof-of-immunization program will also encourage more Ontarians to get vaccinated, as we have seen in British Columbia and Quebec, while allowing businesses to remain open even as case counts rise.

“There remains an opportunity for the government to provide further guidance to the province’s business community, particularly around workplace vaccination policies for employees. We are concerned that a lack of clear guidance will disproportionately impact small businesses and lead to a patchwork of inconsistent policies across the province. Clarity must be provided around what constitutes accommodation, how the technology can be used for employees, timelines, enforcement, and other considerations.

 “In the absence of guidance for workplace vaccination policies, we recommend businesses refer to our Vax-Pass Tenets, a proof-of-vaccination framework to support reopening plans for Ontario private sector businesses, developed in consultation with McCarthy Tétrault.

“We are looking forward to learning more about the government’s plans and working collaboratively with them to ensure a smooth implementation for Ontario business.”

About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.