TORONTO — On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the provincial government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app, Verify Ontario, available for download. Together, these tools will make it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so, and for businesses and organizations to verify vaccine certificates while protecting people’s privacy.
Businesses and organizations can now download the free Verify-Ontario app from the Apple App and Google Play stores. The app has been made available in advance of October 22 to ensure businesses and organizations download the app and have sufficient time to become familiar with it. The made-in-Ontario app has been designed to help businesses by making it quicker and easier to confirm if a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while protecting their privacy. The Verify Ontario app for businesses can be used without an internet connection, but like any app it will need to connect to the internet periodically to keep it up to date. The app never stores personal information and only shows the minimum amount of information necessary to confirm vaccination.
Verify Ontario will only scan and read official, government-issued QR codes, such as Ontario’s vaccine certificate and those SMART Health Codes from other provinces including Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.
“The enhanced vaccine certificates and Verify-Ontario app will give our businesses further comfort in their ability to operate safely as we take further steps to protect people’s privacy,” says Ford. “These certificates remain a key element of our plan to protect the gains we have made while avoiding future lockdowns.”
To ensure a smooth user experience, the province is initially making the enhanced vaccine certificates available for download in cohorts. Enhanced vaccine certificates with official QR codes will be made available for download from the COVID-19 vaccination portal over three days based on birth month:
- October 15, 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between January and April
- October 16, 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between May and August
- October 17, 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between September to December
Starting Oct. 18 at 6 a.m., the portal will open for any individual to download their enhanced vaccine certificate, regardless of their birth month. Individuals can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them.
People can save the electronic version of their vaccine certificate with a QR code to their phone or print a paper copy. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions. In addition, while the current vaccine receipt without a QR code remains valid and will continue to be accepted, the province is encouraging individuals to download their enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code as an easier, more secure and convenient way to have their proof of vaccination verified. Ontarians will need to continue to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with their proof of vaccination when visiting select businesses and organizations.
The Ontario Digital Service at the Associate Ministry of Digital Government collaborated with the Ministry of Health to deliver the Verify Ontario app. Extensive user research and stakeholder consultations were conducted with businesses to ensure the app would be easy to use.
Since the proof of vaccination requirement went into effect, the province has reached two key milestones in its COVID-19 response with more than 87 per cent of individuals aged 12 and over vaccinated with at least a first dose and more than 82 per cent with two doses.
“Getting vaccinated is the most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from COVID-19,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Proof of vaccination using the new vaccine certificate with QR code and Verify Ontario app are important tools to help stop the spread of the virus while keeping businesses and organizations open safely.”