September 22nd, 2021

Vaccine certificate program must be improved: Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for the vaccine certificate program to be improved in order to protect people, and Ontario’s progress in the fight against COVID-19.

“The 85 per cent of us who did the right thing and got our vaccines earned the right to be at a stadium, the mall, or at church without having to worry about whether the person beside us is unvaccinated,” said Horwath.

“For the safety of our families and our progress in the fight against COVID-19, let’s fix the vaccine certificate program. Doug Ford’s version is full of holes big enough for COVID to pour through — let’s close them.”

Unvaccinated people can still be in places that require a vaccine certificate — to make a purchase, or to work a shift. On top of that, the Ford government is not requiring vaccines for places like malls and non-essential retail. Plus, people could be subjected to ongoing harassment and intimidation over the use of certificates because Ford hasn’t agreed to the NDP’s Safety Zone legislation, which would ban anti-public-health protests from the area around businesses, hospitals and clinics. Ford is also not giving local businesses more resources to help them check vaccine certificates, or a robust plan for enforcement.

“Ford’s loopholes and gaps embolden the anti-vax crowd and give oxygen to those protests,” said Horwath. “No one should have to walk a gauntlet of harassment and intimidation because they’ve done the right thing.”

Horwath’s bill would make targeted harassment of people and businesses upholding public health rules in Safety Zones a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. The law would also protect people’s right to access and patronize businesses free from harassment.