TORONTO — Mike Schreiner released the following statement regarding vaccine certificates:
“As we head into a potential fourth wave, we need to do everything we can to protect Ontarians, prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed, and avoid further lockdowns.
That’s why I have called for mandatory vaccines for education and healthcare workers.
I also support the growing number of public health experts in their calls for a vaccine certificate to make it easier to regulate access to non-essential services.
A vaccine certificate will help keep Ontarians safe and help keep small businesses open.
With children under 12 still unable to be vaccinated, the best way to protect them is to incentivize everyone eligible in Ontario to get vaccinated. In York region, for example, reports show that cases are increasing in children under 12 due to contact with unvaccinated adults.
A vaccine certificate will help protect children under 12, as well as others who aren’t eligible for a vaccine, including immunocompromised Ontarians.
In implementing a vaccine certificate, we must keep in mind equity and privacy, as well as respect medical exemptions. A vaccine certificate should not be necessary to access essential services like groceries or pharmacy, for example.
And we must remove barriers to accessing vaccines.
I urge the Ford government to break down barriers by providing paid time off to travel to and receive a vaccine and paid time off to recover from side effects. They need to go door-to-door in high-risk neighbourhoods, launch a mass awareness campaign to tackle vaccine hesitancy, use family doctors to advise on and administer vaccines, and run more clinics in workplaces and schools.
We must make it as convenient and accessible as possible to get a vaccine in Ontario.
Experts are warning that a fourth wave is starting and it is largely being driven by the unvaccinated.
Vaccine certificates are a tool that can help us avoid the worst of it, work towards a safe reopening that gets small businesses back on their feet and keeps Ontario on a path to recovery.”