On September 22, I co-signed a letter to the Minister of Health with Opposition Critic for Small Business Recovery, MPP Ian Arthur, outlining concerns of businesses in Davenport with the troubled roll out of the vaccine certificate program.
Ontario’s proof of vaccination program comes into effect too late, well into a fourth wave fuelled by the more contagious variant and made worse by the government’s failure to act swiftly and invest in protecting schools, hospitals and congregate care settings. It relies instead on restaurants and bars, clubs and gyms to “keep Ontario open” and leaves too many loopholes to blunt the first wave. Despite this, businesses are keen to do their part to protect their patrons, their staff and the community, but they’ve been left with last-minute, often vague, guidance on how to implement the certificate program.
Here are some of the questions we’ve received from local businesses and Business Improvement Associations that we put to the minister for answers:
● If vaccines are mandated for patrons why aren’t they mandated for employees
● How should staff respond when patrons refuse to comply?
● How will businesses and their patrons be protected from anti-vaccine demonstrators who have increasingly targeted them?
● What supports are available for businesses should who incur additional staffingcosts in order to implement the certificate system?
● Who should businesses call in the event of conflicts over this program?
● What are the consequences for businesses that are deemed not in compliance with the program, given the lack of clarity and plethora of exemptions
● Once proof of vaccination is confirmed, is the patron considered approved indefinitely or must they be verified each visit?
Making the vaccine certificate program work is essential to limiting the impact of this fourth wave and preventing more painful lockdowns. We need the government to step up supports and deliver a secure, digital version of the certificate without delay.