Premier Doug Ford will hold a press conference on Friday during which he’s expected to expand on the province’s QR code and verification app to help businesses streamline the “proof of vaccination” process.
Ford will be joined by health minister Christine Elliott and chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, at 11 a.m.
The digital app was expected to be launched one week from tomorrow, on October 22nd, but appears to have been released ahead of time on the Google and Apple app store platforms for businesses.
The personal QR code, called “Verify Ontario,” will be available through the portal individuals used to access the previous version of a vaccine certificate as of October 22nd.
Since September 22nd, individuals have been tasked with providing proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal.
The Ford government has said it’s committed to developing an “enhanced vaccine certificate” that includes a unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. The code could be stored on a mobile device, such as Apple Wallet.
The system will accept QR codes from British Columbia, Québec and Yukon, meaning travellers from those provinces will enter Ontario establishments that require vaccination status safely.
The Ford government says the app will collect no personally identifiable information. It will not request the user’s location or save any information that links specific areas, visitors or businesses to each other. Verified proofs of vaccinations are displayed for 30 seconds and then deleted.
As well, no personal health information is displayed or shared.
Ford’s public appearance comes amidst speculation that Ontario will soon announce a plan for moving beyond the province’s current reopening framework, including ending capacity limits in venues such as restaurants and gyms where proof of vaccination is required.
A government source, who wasn’t authorized to speak about the pending announcement publicly, informed the Canadian Press that the province will release a plan late next week that will “contemplate when capacity limits can be lifted.”
NEW:Sr Ford government source tells me announcment re lifting restrictions further will be made late next week. This will include WHEN restaurants can be at full capacity – it won’t be immediate so restaurants will likely have to wait couple more wks to fill all tables #onpoli
— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) October 14, 2021
Ford’s office did not immediately respond to CityNews Toronto when reached for comment.
The province paused plans in mid-August to exit Step 3 of its reopening framework as fourth wave cases rose. Now, daily COVID-19 case counts are stable, and more than 87 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Cinemas, theatres, concert venues, meeting and event spaces, and spectator sports venues were allowed to open with 100 per cent capacity as of Saturday, and physical distancing mainly isn’t required.
Ontario reported 417 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and three more deaths. Health minister Elliott said 271 of those cases are in people who aren’t fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.
There are 158 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19, with 13 of them fully vaccinated, six partially vaccinated, 79 unvaccinated, and the remaining 60 with an unknown status.
More than 82 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
With files from The Canadian Press