Ontario announced that vaccine certificates will remain in place indefinitely and enhanced versions of the certificates will be mandatory in the new year.
The plan to begin lifting the COVID-19 vaccine certificate requirements in January is now on hold as COVID-19 cases rise in the province.
On December 20, the vaccine certificate program will expand to more age groups in specific settings. Children aged 12 to 17 will need to present a vaccine certificate to participate in organized sports in recreational settings.
Beginning on January 4, Ontario will require people to use the enhanced vaccine certificate. This is the certificate that uses a QR code. QR code certificates can be downloaded digitally on a smart phone or tablet, or a physical copy can be printed.
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In addition to these measures, the province is introducing stricter guidelines for medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines. Starting on December 15, Ontario will begin a new process for medically exempt unvaccinated Ontarians to access an enhanced QR code vaccine certificate. This will also apply to Ontarians who are participating in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
In order for medically exempt Ontarians to get an enhanced certificate, their medical exemption must be submitted by a doctor or registered nurse to their local public health unit. Medical exemptions issued outside of Ontario will not be approved. Public health units will review each individual medical exemption for approval before issuing the enhanced certificate.
Ontario businesses will no longer accept notes from physicians for medical exemptions beginning on January 10.