Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday July 21, 2021
Ford outright rejects vaccine passports on eve of Step 3 of COVID-19 reopening
Ontario Premier Doug Ford firmly rejected the possibility of implementing vaccine passports on Thursday.
Ford spoke at a news conference announcing a new long-term care home in Toronto, the Runnymede Long-Term Care Home, expected to open in the summer of 2023. The centre is expected to provide 200 new long-term care spaces.
“No, we aren’t doing it,” he said. “We’re not going to have a split society.”
As for whether it will be mandatory for health-care workers to get a vaccine, Ford said while they’re encouraged to do so, no one should be forced to be immunized.
“I’m not in favour of a mandatory certification and neither, by the way, is the chief medical officer,” said Ford. “Folks, just please go get vaccinated.”
Fords comments follow similar ones by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones a day before, who shut down the possibility of any sort of proof-of-vaccination system being introduced in the province.
If needed, Jones said, Ontarians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can rely on the receipt printed or emailed to them after their second shot.
Some businesses in the province have said that when Ontario enters Step 3 of its reopening plan, patrons will need to show proof of vaccination upon arrival.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has called on the provincial government to create a voluntary system that would help individual businesses or organizations determine the vaccination status of patrons, employees and members. The Toronto Region Board of Trade has also endorsed such an initiative.
Ford said Thursday he will be addressing the question of a federal vaccination card with the prime minister later in the day.
Ontario reported 143 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths linked to the illness on Thursday, while total vaccinations fell by more than 100,000 from the same day last week.
Public health units collectively administered another 166,201 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, of which roughly 88 per cent were second shots. Last Wednesday saw more than 268,000 shots given out provincewide.
More than 57 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have now had two doses of vaccines. (CBC)