As of September 22nd, Ontario will require proof of vaccination to take part in certain “non-essential” activities. Here’s what that list looks like:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout)
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment)
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport
- Sporting events
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
- Concerts, music festivals, theaters and cinemas
- Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing)
Now between September 22nd and October 22nd, Ontario citizens will need to have two doses of vaccines and prove their vaccination status with photo ID. On October 22nd, the Government will introduce digital vaccine receipts as well in the form of a QR code that can be kept on your smartphone. The Government says it will also be launching a new app for residents and businesses to read and verify QR codes, “while protecting your privacy.” Whatever that means.
So that means you’ll need to have the receipts that you got when you got “the jab.” But walking around with two pieces in your wallet or purse likely won’t end well for said pieces of papers long term. That makes the best option to have your proof of vaccination on you on all times is on your phone. I can suggest two ways to do this.
The first way is to download your vaccination records in the form of a digitally signed PDF. All you need to do is visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and enter your health card info along with your date of birth. You’ll then be taken to a page that allows you to download your vaccination receipts. If you use your phone you can save them directly to it. In my case, I saved my receipts to iCloud Drive. But you can save them to say Dropbox or Google Drive or some other cloud storage service. As a bonus, it also allows you to not only access these receipts on any device, but it acts as a backup for these documents. Now some of you will be pointing out that you get emailed these receipts. My answer to that is while that is true, these receipts are not digitally signed. And while I don’t have details on this, I suspect that the digitally signed versions are the ones that are going to be deemed as acceptable.
The other option that is intriguing yet unofficial way of doing this is to take those digitally signed receipts and turn them into QR codes that are scannable, and save those to Apple Wallet. This is being done by a group of volunteers and you can go to their website here and follow the instructions to create these QR codes and save them to Apple Wallet. And for those who are on Android, the developers are working with Google to get the same thing done on Android. For businesses seeking to verify your QR code, all they need to do is aim their camera app at your code which will then take them to a website showing your vaccinated status. I tested that and here’s what I got when I scanned the QR codes that I created:
It simply validates the QR code and doesn’t appear to give away any personal information. Which is a good thing as Quebec had that issue recently.
Here’s a video showing an end to end run of this system in action:
If the Ontario Government were smart, they’d contact these people and roll this out because it looks like an “over ready” solution for the vaccine passport that could get business open and keep them open. Not to mention drive vaccinations as the more people who are vaccinated, the better off we will all be. The fact is that this solution is dead easy and works quite well from what I can tell when I tested this last night. Thus hopefully it gets used.
My suggestion would be to do both if you can as this is an evolving situation. Which means that you should be covered for any eventuality. Have you got any other suggestions? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
UPDATE: Ontario has released their official QR code system along with an app to verify those QR codes. The methods above are no longer valid.