Ontario Chamber Releases Vaccination Framework

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, with guidance from legal experts at McCarthy Tétrault, has released a proof-of-vaccination framework to support reopening plans for Ontario private sector businesses. ‘Vax-Pass Tenets’ outlines guiding principles for private sector businesses to adopt in the development of their independent proof-of-vaccination frameworks in the absence of a domestic system. The chamber has been calling for a centralized, Canada-wide approach to COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination that could be easily used to confirm vaccination status for international and domestic use. It says implementing proof-of-vaccination will incentivize more people to get vaccinated, allow businesses to safely reopen, and mitigate against the risk of further lockdowns. Public health restrictions, such as capacity limits, could then be modified accordingly based on the lower risk involved with close contact among fully vaccinated individuals, achieving the dual purpose of safe community engagement and productive economic recovery. The principles call for businesses to take all steps reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of their workforce and place of business. It also says vax-pass programs should be consistent with current science and public health recommendations on COVID-19 and businesses must provide human rights-related accommodation to the point of undue hardship. They should use the least intrusive mechanism to verify vaccination status and engage in clear and ongoing dialogue with employees and customers to manage understanding and expectations and educate stakeholders about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.