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Ontario’s vaccine certificate QR code: what you need to know

October 21, 2021 • read

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Ontario’s vaccine certificate QR code: what you need to know

To protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to stay informed about changing COVID-19 protocols, including the Government of Ontario’s new QR code system.

Starting October 22nd, 2021, businesses will begin checking the vaccination status of guests using registered QR codes. This will function as an alternative to employees reviewing PDFs or printed copies for proof of vaccination in order for patrons to access those facilities. These QR codes will allow you to quickly and efficiently show businesses that you’re fully vaccinated as part of the new digital Vaccine Passport app, Verify Ontario. From how Verify Ontario works to how to get your QR code, here’s everything you need to know about this new system.

How does Verify Ontario work?

The Verify Ontario app allows businesses to quickly and easily confirm vaccination status on a platform that’s secure and protected against information theft. This will allow staff at any regulated facility to easily check visitors’ QR codes, using either business-owned or personal digital mobile devices. All they have to do is scan a visitor’s QR code using the app’s camera feature and a colour-coded image will appear.

Green = Verified fully vaccinated

Yellow = Invalid QR code or error in scanning

Red = Unvaccinated

At this time, the Verify Ontario app only functions for businesses to check on the vaccination status of their patrons. If you won’t be checking the vaccine status of other people using their QR code, you don’t need the Verify Ontario app. The app doesn’t allow you to save your QR code to the app for use when you’re visiting regulated facilities. You also cannot register for your QR code through the Verify Ontario app.

How do I get a QR code for my vaccine passport?

  1. Visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/get-proof/ to begin the process
  2. Answer the questions on the page and click “Get results” when you’re done
  3. Click the “Continue” button that will appear below
  4. Scroll down on the new page until you see a box that you can click to confirm that you have read, understood, and accept the terms of use agreement
  5. Click the “Download your enhanced vaccine certificate or book your vaccine appointment” button
  6. Fill in your information and click “Continue”
  7. Choose “Continue” under the “Proof of Vaccination” section
  8. Click the “Download your enhanced vaccine certificate” button, and receive your QR code

You can download it to any of your digital devices or print the sheet out to bring with you. If you don’t want to use the website to apply for your enhanced vaccine certificate that includes your QR code, you can call 1-833-943-3900 for assistance. Registration can be completed by phone, and then your QR code can either be mailed or emailed directly to you. This may take up to 10 business days for traditional mail.

What app will the government be using for the vaccine passport QR code system?

The application is called Verify Ontario. The official government website for information about the app can be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/verify.

Will I need an ID in addition to using the Verify Ontario app?

Yes. You’ll need to show one piece of government-issued photo ID in addition to your QR code in order to allow businesses to confirm your identity.

Where can I download the Verify Ontario app?

The Verify Ontario app is available for both Apple and Android users. It can be downloaded from both the Apple App Store & the Google Play Store, depending on which type of digital device you’re using.

When will the Verify Ontario app be available for use?

The Verify Ontario app is currently available for anyone to download through the Apple App and Google Play stores. It’s ready for immediate implementation into any business’ vaccine verification process.

Does the Verify Ontario app need internet access to function?

No, the app verifies vaccination status through QR codes without the internet. However, Government of Ontario officials have stated that the app will need periodic access to the internet in order to update the application.

When will QR codes be available?

All residents of Ontario are now able to download the Verify Ontario app. This means that any vaccinated Ontario resident can register for their code.

Can I add the QR code to the Verify Ontario app?

At this time, you aren’t able to add your registered QR code to the Verify Ontario app. It’s unclear whether that will change, but you can check back for updates in the future.

Can I still use my original vaccine certificates to verify my vaccination status?

Yes, all existing forms of vaccine certificates will remain valid.

Will my QR code expire?

At this time, there are no plans for these QR codes to expire. However, this may change if COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are recommended in the future.

What if I have a medical exemption that doesn’t allow me to get vaccinated?

At this time, there’s no way to register for your enhanced vaccine certificate through the normal online registration portal. However, at the Verify Ontario announcement on October 15th, 2021, the Government of Ontario stated that there’s a plan in place to address this issue. According to officials, proof of medical exemptions can be taken to local health units, where it will go through an approval process.

Once approved, the information can be entered into the government database through the local health unit. Then, a functioning QR can be assigned, which will allow medical exempt residents of Ontario to begin accessing indoor facilities. There’s no current plan in place for when this will be fully implemented. However, officials encouraged individuals to approach their local health units with their medical exemption information to start the process.

Will QR codes from other provinces function with Verify Ontario?

Not yet, but steps are already being taken to allow QR codes from other provinces to function, such as Quebec and B.C. While there has been no timeline given for the implementation of other provincial QR codes, officials have stated that up to 75% of the Canadian population should eventually be able to use Verify Ontario.

What other features does the Verify Ontario app offer?

Verify Ontario also offers a “flashlight” feature, which adds improved lighting to the scanning process for QR codes. This is to help reduce scanning issues in low-lighting environments, such as restaurants.

Download, show, scan, and go

If you’ve been vaccinated, get your enhanced vaccine certificate to start using your QR code right away. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, consider booking an appointment today.

It seems as though COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon, and the pandemic certainly hasn’t been easy to navigate. But if it has taught us anything, it’s that by working together, we can help keep each other safe.

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