What the Proof of Vaccination Requirement Means for Condominiums

As of September 22, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required for all “patrons” who enter certain businesses and organizations – for certain purposes – in Ontario.

On September 14, 2021 the regulations outlining requirements for proof of vaccination were published, offering more insight on what, and who, will be affected come late September.

It should be noted that the regulations are not meant to be a comprehensive description of the requirements, but rather to provide a baseline regime for compliance for businesses and organizations. Additional policies or requirements may be adopted by affected businesses and organizations as well.

How will it work?

At the point of entry, the person responsible for a business and/or organization must require from each “patron” proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated, with respect to the following premises (in no particular order):

  • Indoor facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities;
  • Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces;
  • Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments;
  • Indoor AND outdoor areas of food and drink establishments if dance facilities are provided;
  • Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments;
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres, and cinemas;
  • And more!

The above-mentioned “premises” are the most relevant to condominiums, but you may wish to consult the regulations for a more detailed listing.

It is important to note that businesses and organizations are not permitted to retain the information provided by the patrons, when requiring proof of vaccination.

The exceptions

The regulations list a few exceptions when proof of vaccination is not required upon entering premises that are otherwise subject to the regulation.  Again, those exceptions can be viewed in detail by consulting the regulations.

Notably, the regulation also does not apply to those that enter the premises for work, and not as “patrons”.

Additionally, there are exemptions to the requirement to provide proof of vaccination for those that:

  • Are under 12 years old;
  • Are under 18 years old if entering a facility used for sports and recreational fitness for the purposes of participating in an organized sport;
  • Can provide a documented medical reason from a physician or registered nurse;
  • Are entering the premise solely for a service, rite or ceremony, but NOT for the associated social gathering;
  • And more!

Again, a more detailed listing of those exempted can be found in the regulations.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

According to the regulations, a person is considered fully vaccinated when they have received either:

  • a full series of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada;
  • one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada if they have received one dose of an mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada; or
  • three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada.

In addition, the final dose must have been received 14 days before providing the proof of vaccination.

Process for confirming vaccination status

Below is a summary of the guide published by Ontario’s Ministry of Health setting out the baseline requirements that are to be followed to confirm vaccination status:

  1. Match the name and date of birth on the vaccination receipt with the piece of identification (photo identification is not required);
  2. Verify that the receipt is either:
    • From Ontario and issued at the time of vaccination
    • A receipt signed by an Indigenous Health Care provider, or
    • A receipt from another jurisdiction showing complete vaccination;
  3. Verify that the receipt shows the holder is fully vaccinated; and
  4. Verify that the date of administration of the final shot is at least 14 days prior

How does this affect condominiums?

By now, you’re most likely wondering how this will affect condominiums and their residents’ use of facilities and common elements. Unfortunately, this remains unclear.

As we have noted in this post, the regulations adopt the term “patrons” when referencing the category of individuals to whom this new regulation will apply.  The use of this term stands at odds with the term “person” which is used throughout the rest of the regulations on reopening Ontario. Since the regulation does not define “patron” it is difficult to say whether it is intended to include residents within a condominium. We see an argument that the term “patron” does not include condominium residents, as most definitions of this term imply a commercial and/or public element that is simply not applicable in the residential condominium context.

This would lead us to believe that the focus of the regulation is to govern public places, not the private facilities of a residential condominium. In a couple of previous posts (here and here), we discussed mandatory vaccination policies and what condominiums should look out for moving forward.

At this time, we remain of the view that condominiums are not yet obligated to enforce proof of vaccination policies, but they may opt to pass a Rule establishing vaccination policies for residents using certain amenities. We can certainly assist in that regard.

However, we stress that it is still an extremely grey area, and until more guidance is given, condominiums should tread carefully as the regulation imposes hefty fines for non-compliance.

We also hope to be able to provide more guidance as this issue evolves and have reached out to the Ministry with specific questions in hopes of clarifying these issues.

Stay safe and stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on vaccination requirements!