TORONTO -- The Ontario government has launched its COVID-19 vaccine verification app and QR code system.

While the app is now available for download, some residents will not be able to download the Verify Ontario QR codes until later this weekend.

Since Sept. 22, residents in the province have needed proof of vaccination in order to visit some non-essential businesses and services in Ontario.

For nearly a month now, residents have been using a COVID-19 receipt and government identification to prove their vaccination status, but soon they will be able to use the enhanced QR code instead that businesses can scan with the new app.

Currently, people need to be fully vaccinated to enter gyms, indoor restaurants, movie theatres, indoor meeting and event spaces, sports venues and concert halls.

CTV News Toronto has compiled a list of everything you need to know about the new enhanced vaccine certificates and app.

How will the new enhanced vaccine certificate work?

  • The enhanced vaccine certificate is a scannable QR code that contains only essential information and does not include health card numbers.
  • People will need to show a piece of ID alongside the QR code.

How will the new Verify Ontario app for businesses work?

  • Verify Ontario is a free QR code scanner for businesses that can be used to scan QR codes on the enhanced vaccine certificates. The app can't store any personal information. 
  • Businesses and organizations can download the free app from the Apple app and Google Play stores. It is available in French and English.
  • It can be used without an internet connection and can scan both digital and printed versions of the enhanced vaccine certificates.
  • The app will show businesses a checkmark or an ‘X’ to confirm vaccination status, officials say.

scan results

When can I download the enhanced vaccine certificate?

  • People with a green photo health card can start downloading the new certificate on Oct. 15. It is available on the COVID-19 vaccination portal, but it will be initially only be available in cohorts based on date of birth.
  • If you are born between January and April, you can download the enhanced vaccine certificate on Oct. 15 between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • If you are born between May and August, you can download enhanced vaccine certificate on Oct. 16 between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • If you are born between September and December, you can download enhanced vaccine certificate on Oct. 17 between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • The portal will be open for everyone on Oct. 18 at 6 a.m.

Do I need a cellphone or computer to use the system?

  • The province says the enhanced vaccine certificate can be printed or downloaded. Businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.

What if I can’t access the Ontario vaccine portal?

  • Anyone who can’t access the portal, including those with only an Ontario red-and-white health card, can call the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them.
  • People without an Ontario health card can contact their public health unit to have their identity verified and get a COVID ID. Once they get the ID, they can call the phone number above.
  • If someone does not have access to a printer, they can get a copy printed for free at a local library or at a ServiceOntario location. 
  • Ontario residents who received their first or second dose out of the province can contact their public health unit to record their information and receive an Ontario receipt.

paper

Does the enhanced certificate work for people with only one vaccine dose?

  • The QR code when scanned will not generate approval or a checkmark if the individual is not yet fully vaccinated.

Will I be able to use the QR code for medical exemptions?

  • The province says work in underway to integrate medical and clinical exemptions into vaccine certificates with QR codes.
  • Currently, people who cannot take the vaccine due to medical reasons can present a note from a medical doctor or registered nurse.

Can I still use the vaccine receipt I have been using?

  • Yes, people can continue to use their current vaccine receipt if they prefer that. Businesses are required to accept that as proof of vaccination.
  • However, people can no longer download these receipts off the province’s online portal.