Few compliance incidents were reported in the early days of Ontario vaccination certificates

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Ontario police forces and other law enforcement agencies are reporting few incidents in the early days of the province’s COVID-19 trial vaccination policy, as some companies have publicly pledged to ignore the rules.


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Most of the incidents reported to police since Wednesday, when the new vaccine certificate system went into effect, involved people who refused to show proof of vaccination.

Peel Regional Police said Thursday they had received seven calls about customers who did not show proof of vaccination: five incidents at gyms and two at food establishments.

The police force provided minimal details about what happened in the interactions, but noted that customers who entered without showing proof of vaccination left before police arrived in two reported cases. In the other five, they left “without incident” after officers arrived at the scene.

Guelph police said officers responded to a report involving a man at a restaurant who “refused to show proof of vaccination and refused to leave.”


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The police force said the man was gone when officers arrived, but noted that in the future, people who do not follow the rules may be evicted under the Property Entry Law.

Toronto police said they received “several” calls related to the policy, which they directed to 311, “with no major problems to report.”

Other police forces surveyed by The Canadian Press said they were not aware of any fines issued on the first day of the vaccine certificate policy.

Police forces have largely said they will respond to situations where public safety is threatened, but they will not verify individual compliance.

Fines are on the table for companies and customers who violate the rules, but officials have said early enforcement will focus on education about the changes.


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Compliance checks must be carried out by provincial and municipal inspectors. As of Thursday, there were also few incidents reported there.

A spokesman for the city of Toronto said law enforcement officers had not issued fines.

Public Health Units also said that no problems had yet arisen that required law enforcement.

A Huron Perth Public Health spokeswoman said there was no information to share so early in the policy’s implementation. Health units covering Windsor-Essex County, the Niagara region and Brant County said they were not aware of any apps as of Thursday, and Brant County noted a recent surge in vaccination stocks.

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit said it had responded to “very few complaints” about the vaccine certificate program, with no fines issued as of Thursday afternoon. He said in a statement that many requests have come in from companies seeking to ensure they are complying with the program.


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Despite lax enforcement in the early days of the policy, several business owners in the province have publicly stated that they do not intend to ask for proof of vaccination at all, or that they will only serve takeout to avoid having to ask.

Those who oppose the policy have connected via social media to exchange the names of companies that claim not to adhere to it.

A Facebook group called the Ontario Businesses Against Health Pass had amassed more than 136,000 members as of Friday, though it’s unclear how many of them are business owners. It described itself as a space for people to “compile a list of companies that believe an Ontario health passport is unconstitutional.”

A similar business-focused Facebook group in the Windsor, Ontario area had attracted more than 12,000 members as of Friday. Discussion posts highlight companies claiming not to enforce vaccine policy, and others request recommendations for new places to hang out after being turned away from their local venues.


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Group administrator Krystle Bernauer said that hundreds of companies are involved in the group.

“Unfortunately, we feel like the government has put us in a position where we have to discriminate and divide each other,” Bernauer, who said she owns a cleaning company, said in an interview.

A gym in Mississauga, Ontario that opened during previous pandemic closures has also proclaimed that it will not verify vaccination status.

“We will NOT be segregated or discriminated against,” read a Sept. 20 post on Huf Gym’s Facebook page.

Another website titled “NoPass List” names companies across Canada “that do not discriminate based on your medical choice.”

Prime Minister Doug Ford has repeatedly said that he was reluctant to implement the policy, but decided to do so temporarily to avoid reintroducing lockdown measures.



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