FACT CHECK: Do You Need A Phone To Show Proof Of Vaccination In Canada?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Canada is discriminating against the “phoneless” by requiring vaccination QR codes and not accepting other forms of ID.

Verdict: False

The Canadian government accepts both digital and printed COVID-19 vaccination documentation. Citizens without a phone can request a physical copy of their COVID-19 vaccination certificate from the government.

Fact Check:

As of Jan. 4, Ontario residents are required to show a QR code that links to their COVID-19 vaccination certificate to participate in indoor settings like movie theaters and restaurants, according to a December 2021 press release from the Ontario government. Proof of vaccination must also be shown when traveling by air or rail in Canada, the Canadian government’s website states.

A video shared on Facebook claims the QR code requirement in Ontario discriminates against people who do not have phones. The video shows a man explaining that because he did not have a phone to show his QR code, he was not allowed to enter a movie theater despite showing his vaccine passport and identification. “CANADA discriminates against the phone-less,” reads text included in the video.

This claim is inaccurate. While QR codes are required to enter many indoor areas such as movie theaters, the Ontario government has said it will provide a print copy of the code to anyone who requests one. “You can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to you,” reads a section of the Ontario government’s website.

The Canadian COVID-19 vaccination certificate includes an individual’s residing province, the individual’s full name and birth date, their COVID-19 vaccination history and a QR code, according to the Canadian government’s website. (RELATED: Does Canada Prohibit Pilots Who Received COVID-19 Vaccines From Flying?)

The Ontario Ministry of Health has also pointed out that Canadian citizens can print out their paperwork for free at local libraries, with some even offering free lamination, according to CBC.

In an emailed statement to Check Your Fact, the Media Relations Department of the Public Health Agency of Canada referred to a federal web page titled, “Using your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination.” The website states anyone “can show the vaccination history available on the digital or paper copy of [their] proof of vaccination.”

“People can save the electronic version of their vaccine certificate with a QR code to their phone or print a paper copy,” the Ontario Ministry of Health’s emailed statement to Check Your Fact confirmed. “Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions. As part of its plan to gradually and cautiously ease measures, government intends to lift proof of vaccination requirements on March 1, 2022.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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