TORONTO -- Ontario's top doctor says proof-of-vaccine certificates will be in place through the winter with modelling showing the potential for a "significant rise" in COVID-19 cases after the holidays.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore made the comment on Friday while announcing an easing of capacity restrictions for some outdoor and indoor settings. 

"I do think they are going to be with us for the fall and winter at a minimum," Moore said. "I have seen modelling where we have a significant rise in January and February after the Christmas holidays. That is disconcerting."

Moore said he hopes Ontario can reach a 90 per cent rate of vaccination as quickly as possible, which is target the government says is needed to significantly slow transmission.

"I think once we get that high a rate, and there will be others that have natural immunity, that will definitely slow the virus down,” Moore said. "As we see the virus slowing downing and not able to impact our health sector … I think we’ll slowly pull back on all public health measures over time. But we'll do it stepped manner."

Ontario's vaccine certificate program came into effect on Wednesday. It requires proof of vaccination for many non-essential settings. 

Premier Doug Ford said the vaccine certificate program is the province’s best chance at avoiding further lockdowns. 

"We need to do everything in our power to avoid future lockdowns and closures. That is why we are bringing in these exceptional measures on a temporary basis and will end them as soon as they can be responsibly removed."