TORONTO -- Ontario's vaccine certificate program is now in effect and there are some important things to know about how it will work.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to access non-essential businesses in Ontario starting Wednesday.

Those eligible for a vaccine certificate must have both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine 14 days prior.

These are the answers to some of the top questions about the program.

How do you get your vaccine certificate?

The province has split its vaccine passport rollout into two stages.

In the first step, beginning on Sept. 22, fully vaccinated residents need to navigate to the provincial website to retrieve their vaccination receipts.

Click here to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccine. 

Users are instructed to print or save their receipts as a PDF to a mobile device which can then be used as proof-of-vaccination.

Prior to entry into non-essential settings, establishments will visually verify your vaccine certificate with accompanying government-issued physical identification.

This process will be in place until Oct. 22, when the province's QR code and verification app will come into effect.

At that time, users will be required to request their certificate through the province’s forthcoming digital portal or service desk.

Click here for more information on getting your proof of vaccine.

Where do you need proof of vaccine?

Ontarians will need proof of vaccine in most non-essential settings. 

All other public health measures, like masking and screening, will still apply in areas where you need a vaccine certificate.

Some examples of these settings include:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios)
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas)
  • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres
  • Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and person fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities (with the exception of youth recreational sport)
  • Sporting events
  • Indoor areas of waterparks
  • Indoor areas of commercial film and TV productions with studio audiences
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Racing venues

The government says at no time will anyone unvaccinated be prevented from accessing necessary medical care, food from grocery stores, basic medical supplies or other essentials.

Click here for a detailed list of situations where you will be exempt from showing a vaccine certificate. 

The province warned that proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a recent infection will not replace the vaccine certificates.

Can I get a medical exemption if I can't get the vaccine?

The Ontario government said there are two valid medical exemptions to getting the vaccine. 

The first would be an allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine within an individual, which must be confirmed by an allergist or immunologist.

The second would be if an individual suffered myocarditis or pericarditis after the first dose of a vaccine.

If you have a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine certificate program, you must present identification and a written document.

Children under 12 will not need to show proof of vaccination.