Government Announces New Vaccine Certificate System
Earlier today, the Government of Ontario announced their plan for a COVID-19 vaccination certification system that will be a key tool to enhance public safety and keep businesses open as Ontario enters the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Beginning September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR REAL ESTATE?
According to government officials, vaccinations are not mandatory to attend open houses or showings.
Instead, the government approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout).
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas).
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres.
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport.
- Sporting events.
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments.
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas.
- Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.
- Racing venues (e.g. horse racing).
Vaccination verification certificates will not be required when accessing necessary medical care, grocery stores or other essential services and establishments.
Unvaccinated people with medical exemptions (including those who may be allergic or had a reaction to their first vaccine) will not be required to provide proof of vaccination, provided they can produce an appropriate doctor’s note, at least until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate.
For the first month of implementation, individuals will be required to use a paper/PDF vaccine receipt that is available online through the government’s portal or by phoning the Ontario government contact centre at 1-833-943-3900. Ontarians would then be required to show their paper receipt or PDF on their mobile device, along with a piece of ID, at the entrance of the appropriate setting.
On October 22, 2021 the government will be releasing a verification application that will scan unique QR codes on vaccine certificates to simplify the experience for both users and businesses. This will help reduce the burden on businesses to determine someone’s vaccination status and will enhance consumer privacy as businesses will not be able to see any sensitive personal information.
Capacity restrictions are currently not part of the implementation of the Proof of Vaccination program. The government will continue to monitor and assess capacity limits based on current evidence of epidemiological trends.
WILL OREA BE COMMUNICATING MORE GUIDANCE ON VACCINATIONS TO MEMBERS?
OREA is working with legal and real estate experts to review the full impact of Ontario’s vaccination certificate system, the supporting regulations, and documents to assess the complete impact on real estate and REALTORS®. We will be providing additional information to Members in the coming weeks on issues like medical exemptions, real estate listings and working with unvaccinated clients.