As phase one of Ontario’s vaccine certification system accelerates, the Doug Ford government has released new details of the digital application that will launch on October 22, and the business community is already raising concerns about the new system. .
For starters, unlike the app developed in Quebec, the Ontario app being developed is for businesses only. Consumers will not have access to the application, but will be able to download a new version of their vaccine certificate that will be similar to the original, but will include a QR code.
The vaccine certificate with QR code is optional; Clients can continue to use the vaccine certificate they are using now if they wish.
Like old certificates, new ones must be presented to specific non-essential businesses at the front door. The Ontario app will be provided to businesses, who can upload the app to a smartphone and use it to scan the QR code, said Amanda Brodhagen, communications director for the associate minister for digital government.
This differs from the Quebec system, which has an app for customers to use, accompanied by a business comparison app. The VaxiCode app allows people to “download and read all the content of their individual QR code found on their vaccination voucher, save the code in a digital wallet, and display it for access when needed,” according to the government website. Manitoba also has applications for both clients and businesses.
However, as in Quebec and Manitoba, after scanning the QR code, Ontario businesses still need to verify the user’s ID.
Brodhagen said in an email that the new vaccine certificate and verification application are on track to be ready by October 22.
The government has a working prototype of the app and will share more details in the coming days and weeks, he said.
Brodhagen said the app will only display enough information for the business owner or employee to know that the person’s vaccine status has been verified and that no information will be stored on the app or smartphone.
A spokesman for the Health Ministry said they are working on a way to include valid medical exemptions in the QR code, so that companies have to refer to fewer medical notes.
Ryan Mallough of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said he was surprised to learn that Ontario is not developing an app for consumers to use.
Between the fact that consumers will still need a PDF or paper version of their certificate, companies still need to verify consumer IDs and older versions of certificates will remain valid, Mallough said many companies will ask “why “once they hear how the system works.
“They will need to justify their use,” he said.
Not all businesses will have the technology to use the app, Mallough said, such as small businesses or those without access to a good internet. He called on the government to provide financial support to those companies that face obstacles in using the application.
Brodhagen said the app will work offline as well, but it will need to be connected to the internet to receive updates.
For James Rilett of Restaurants Canada, the biggest surprise with the app is how long it took given the fact that other jurisdictions have already developed similar systems.
“There is no reason why they can’t just adopt them,” he said.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION