TORONTO — The Ontario government has released its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccination verification app.
On Oct. 15, the province announced the free app, Verify Ontario, is now available for download, as are enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificates with a QR code.
“I want to thank every Ontarian for their patience and cooperation as we’ve implemented our proof of vaccination policy,” said Premier Doug Ford in a release. “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. These certificates remain a key element of our plan to protect the gains we have made while avoiding future lockdowns.”
Currently, individuals seeking access to a business or organization that requires proof of vaccination must show a valid piece of ID plus a paper or digital version of their vaccine receipt. As of Oct. 22, individuals may continue to use their current vaccine receipt. However, the province is encouraging everyone is use the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code.
The province will use a staggered approach to making the enhanced certificates available from the Ontario COVID-19 vaccination portal, starting Oct. 15.
On Oct. 15, people born between January and April can download their certificate. Those born between May and August may download their certificate on Oct. 16. Those born between September to December have access on Oct. 17.
The portal will open to anyone, regardless of their birth month, on Oct. 18 at 6 a.m. You may also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have the enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to you.
The enhanced certificate can be saved electronically to your phone or printed. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.
In a news release, provincial officials say the enhanced vaccine certificate is built to the SMART Health Care standard adopted by the federal government in collaboration with provinces and territories. The Government of Canada logo is also included on the enhanced vaccine certificate to support those travelling internationally.
Downloading the Verify Ontario app
The Verify Ontario app was released ahead of Oct. 22 to allow businesses to download and become familiar with the app.
The app is available for free from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Officials say 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.”
No internet connection is needed to use the app. Officials say the app will need to connect to the internet periodically to keep it updated, “like any app.”
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.
As of Oct. 15, 87 per cent of eligible Ontarians (aged 12 and over) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 82 per cent have received two doses.