September 23rd, 2021

MPP says Kitchener businesses need vaccine certificate app quicker

KITCHENER — NDP MPP for Kitchener Centre Laura Mae Lindo is calling on the Ford government to speed up the digital app to verify vaccine certification immediately — not a month from now — after a number of local businesses expressed concerns with the long wait.

"Multiple businesses in Kitchener are already reaching out to my office with concerns about having to wait until Oct. 22 for the government's verification app, which they say they need sooner. The current paper system is confusing, and more of a burden than an app that can effectively verify customers' vaccination status and keep everyone safe," Lindo said.

"Ford's vaccine certificate program comes late in the game and is full of loopholes that don't make sense. We fully support the vaccine certificates — the Ontario NDP has been fighting for this program for a long time — but the government could be doing a much better job of helping small businesses make sure this goes smoothly, as well as taking action to help businesses afford the costs associated with this extra responsibility.”

The Ontario NDP has been urging Doug Ford to close the gaps in his government's delayed vaccine certificate program, including for the certificate to apply to all non-essential retail and for the government to provide businesses with funding to put the program into practice, and municipalities the funding to enforce the program rules.

Andrea Horwath has also been urging Doug Ford to pass her bill to establish Safety Zones in which anti-vax or anti-passport protesting outside a hospital, clinic or small business checking vaccine certificates is a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000.


Mark Bingeman, president of Bingemans Grand Experiences:

"There is no question this process will increase the both the financial burden and staffing challenges in many operations, as operators are still struggling and will continue to do so for some time. For example, additional staffing needs, when we are already in a staffing crisis; equipment...and the challenge of dealing with tired/disgruntled guests that cause heightened challenges to staff only trying to do their jobs as are required."

Minto Schneider, CEO of Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation:

"While we support vaccine verification and other measures to protect our employees, customers and clients, the time frame for this new system presents a series of challenges for small and medium business owners across all provincial economic sectors....

In order to significantly assist our business and other operations experiencing these same challenges, we ask that your government immediately release this app well in advance of the October 22 target implementation date. An efficient transition to this new verification system will provide a higher level of protection for businesses and their customers.

We also ask that your government consider financial assistance to small business required to implement vaccine verification and also offset additional expenses incurred with extended stay-at-home orders and lockdowns."