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Using your Enhanced Vaccine Certificate: Frequently Asked Questions

October 15, 2021

Office of the Premier

Health


TORONTO –

Which settings require proof of vaccination to enter?

Since September 22, Ontario requires patrons to provide proof of identification and of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access certain businesses and settings.

How will the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code be different from the vaccine receipt I already have?

The enhanced vaccine certificate will include an official QR code that can be scanned and validated by the province’s new Verify Ontario app for businesses and organizations. Used together, these tools make it easier, more secure and more 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.

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, 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.

Is my current vaccine receipt still valid?

While the current vaccine receipt without an official 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.

How can I get my enhanced vaccine certificate?

To ensure a smooth user experience, the province is initially making the enhanced certificates available for download in cohorts. Enhanced vaccine certificates with an official QR code will be available in PDF form to be downloaded to your computer, phone or tablet, or printed. Individuals who have a green photo health card can receive their proof of vaccination by downloading or printing their vaccine certificate with a QR code from the COVID-19 vaccination portal over three days based on birth month.

  • October 15, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between January and April
  • October 16, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between May and August
  • October 17, 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.: All individuals born between September to December

Starting October 18 at 6:00 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.

Will the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code replace the current vaccine receipt that is printed or emailed to an individual at the time of vaccination?

Beginning October 15, all proof of vaccination issued by Ontario’s vaccine portal will be in the format of the enhanced vaccine certificate with an official QR code. This includes individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated.

A patron seeking access to a business or organization specified in the regulation must provide the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code that shows they are fully vaccinated.

Will I be able to use the QR code to show that I have a medical or clinical trial exemption?

Work is underway that to integrate medical exemptions and clinical trial exemptions into electronic certificates with QR codes.

Currently, individuals who cannot receive the vaccine for a valid medical reason can present a note from a medical doctor or a registered nurse in the extended class. A sample template for physicians and registered nurses in the extended class can be found at COVID-19 Sample Medical Exemption Template (gov.on.ca).

I’m not comfortable showing all my personal information on my certificate. Am I able to block certain information out?

In addition to being easier and more convenient to use, the new enhanced vaccine certificates with official QR codes only contain essential information and do not include an individual’s health card number. The QR codes on these vaccine certificates can be scanned by businesses and organizations using the Verify Ontario app that never stores personal information when verifying a vaccine certificate.

Altering the appearance of proof of vaccination in any way is not permitted and could render it invalid.

How can I save my enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code to my smart phone? Is it compatible with the Apple or Android wallet?

To save your vaccine certificate with a QR code on your mobile device, log-in to the COVID-19 vaccination portal using your Apple or Android mobile device with your green health card in hand:

  • Select “Get your vaccination certificate”
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page under “To download your proof of vaccination or book an appointment” and check off the “Terms of use” box
  • Click “Continue”
  • Fill out the following form using your date of birth, health card information, and postal code.
  • Click “Continue”
  • Next, you’ll get two options: one is for booking a vaccination appointment and another is to access your vaccine certificates. Click “Continue” on the yellow box that says “Proof of vaccination”
  • Click “Download proof of vaccination” to save it to your phone, file manager or iCloud as a PDF file. This will work on both Apple and Android phones.

To easily access your vaccine certificate on your mobile device once downloaded:

  • Take a screen shot of the certificate to save it to your photos. If you “favourite” the photo of your vaccine certificate, it will be saved in your “favourite” album; or
  • Save the PDF or photo of your certificate to your home screen:
  • On an Apple mobile device, use the Shortcuts app and press “Add Action” to search the PDF of your certificate by the name it is saved under in your Files app, or to search the photo of your certificate under the album where it is saved. Create the shortcut and add it to your home screen.
  • On an Android mobile device, use the file management or cloud storage app such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox where the PDF of your vaccine certificate is saved to generate a home screen shortcut. Press-and-hold on an empty home screen space and select “Widgets” from the menu, find the section for your app of choice, and then press-and-hold on the shortcut widget to drag it to your home screen. Follow the steps to select the PDF of your certificate or the folder where the PDF of your certificate is saved, depending on which app you are using.

Work is underway to make it easier for users to add their enhanced vaccine certificate with an official QR code to their Apple or Android wallets. SMART Health Card codes are complex and must be handled with care. As these standards become more frequently used, we expect that existing wallet features will adjust to meet the need. In the coming weeks, Apple will release iOS 15.1 which will support the addition of SMART Health Cards to Apple Wallet, complimenting existing integration with Apple Health.

I want to print my enhanced vaccine certificate but don’t have a printer. What do I do?

Individuals can visit their local library or ask a trusted friend or family member to help print a copy or can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their vaccine certificate mailed to them. Individuals will need to provide their full name, date of birth, health card number or COVID ID and a mailing address to the agent. This service takes approximately 10 business days. They can also visit a ServiceOntario centre to receive a printed copy.

Members of the Indigenous community may contact their band office, nursing station, Indigenous service provider or Indigenous health provider for assistance in printing their vaccine certificate.

What can I show as proof of identification?

Individuals must provide proof of identification so that the business or organization can ensure the proof of vaccination belongs to the person. The person’s identification must be issued by an institution or public body and show the name of the identification holder and their date of birth. A photo identification is not required.

Examples of identification documents that may be used as proof of identification include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Citizenship card
  • Driver’s licence
  • Government (Ontario or other) issued identification card, including health card[1]
  • Indian Status Card /Indigenous Membership Card
  • Passport
  • Permanent Resident card

Photocopies of ID and electronic versions (stored in phone) are permitted for youth.

If you are a business, please refer to the Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act and Questions and Answers document.


[1] Individuals may voluntarily offer an Ontario health card (issued under the Health Insurance Act) for identification purposes, however a person or entity who is not a health information custodian must not record or copy the health card number. Individuals have a right to refuse to provide their health cards. It is an offence under PHIPA to require the production of a health card or health card number in certain circumstances.

Further information regarding the use of Ontario health cards for confirming the identity of individuals is available from the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) at: https://www.ipc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/phipa-hfaq-cards-e.pdf. If you have any questions or concerns about the production of health cards or the collection, use or disclosure of health numbers, please contact the IPC at: info@ipc.on.ca.


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