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EDITORIAL: Ford’s flawed passport (Aug. 2021)

September 8th, 2021 · No Comments

Doug Ford emerged this week after weeks of summer slumber to announce a “vaccine certificate system” which is both late and lame. He then prorogued the legislature, lest he be answerable to it, and headed back into seclusion. 

“It’s no secret – this is something I did not want to do,” the Ontario premier said recently. The last time we heard from him in July he was asked if he would support a vaccine passport system. 

“The answer is no, we’re not gonna do it… hard no,” he said.

But we all know what happens when the premier draws a hard line: he waits until the problem becomes unmanageable, does a flip-flop, blames others (usually Justin Trudeau) and flies in to attempt to rescue us from a crisis that he himself helped create. He is both an arsonist and wannabe firefighter.

Currently, 23 per cent of the eligible Ontario population are not fully immunized. Within that group are the vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-opposers. If they do not “get the jab” the new Delta variant of COVID-19 will spread, mutate, and lead to full ICU beds and morgues. This has the net effect of creating more dangerous strains of the virus and displacing other necessary medical procedures from happening in hospitals. Sound familiar?

The ‘incentive’ to get vaccinated is now a stick. Effective September 22, if you fail to provide proof that you received your second shot more than 14 days ago, you will be denied access to restaurants, bars, movie theatres, casinos, gyms, and professional sporting events. Inexplicably, you can still avail yourself of personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlours, barber shops plus any and ALL retail services or churches – no vaccine required. It’s a sort of, ‘passport-lite’ approach. 

The staff at the establishments where vaccine proof is required to enter do not have to be vaccinated themselves. Ford is leaving it up to employers to come up with their own policies on this. Businesses, Universities, and Colleges are all over the map on rules for staff, patrons, students, and guests. It’s a patchwork that invites the anti-vaxxer movement to target establishments that take a hard line on public health safety.

Still, this new program is better than nothing and vaccinations have gone up since Ford’s announcement. 

Both Quebec and British Columbia saw similar spikes when they announced their passport programs, but that was some time ago and those provinces have the advantage of getting people fully vaccinated at least 14 days before school starts. 

Thanks to Ford’s dithering, we are way back in the pack in Canada’s most populous province. 

Our QR code proof of vaccine system will not be up and running until at least Oct 22 because Ford derailed its planning last December. Quebec’s QR code is in use today. 

Proof of vaccination here will come in the form of the PDF emailed to you after receiving your second shot. Why are we waiting until Sept 22 to make use of this insecure form of documentation?

The provincial plan is most glaringly deficient in that fails to require health care workers and educators to be vaccinated. So workers are free to be unvaccinated while caring for the most vulnerable, those in hospital, old-age homes, or for kids under age 12 (who can’t be vaccinated). But they can’t go see a  Blue Jays game? 

As usual, the premier is playing catch up after developing policy on the fly. And typically, Ontarians are faced with chaos.


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