Ontario Taking Action to Protect Against Omicron Variant

Published on December 13, 2021

The government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking action to further encourage vaccination and help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

In line with Ontario’s cautious approach throughout the pandemic and in light of evolving global evidence around the Omicron variant, the province is adjusting its COVID-19 response that will strengthen the province’s proof of vaccination requirements and enhance public health measures.

This includes, but is not limited to, the following measures:

  • Delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022, aligned with the reopening plan that stipulated that doing so was contingent on the absence of concerning trends.
  • Effective January 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required.
  • Strengthening the verification process for medical or clinical trial exemptions and providing a COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code.
  • Launching a holiday testing blitz next week to offer voluntary rapid antigen screening to asymptomatic individuals free of charge.
  • Effective December 20, 2021, requiring proof of vaccination for youth aged 12 to 17 years participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.
  • On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontarians are strongly advised to limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend, especially over the holiday season. Employers in all industries should also make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

The COVID-19 vaccine remains the single best protection against COVID-19 and variants. Every eligible Ontarian is strongly recommended to get vaccinated or receive their booster if they are eligible as soon as possible. In addition to individuals aged 50 and over being eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment starting on Monday, December 13, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., expanded booster dose eligibility to all Ontarians 18 years of age and older will occur on January 4, 2022, with appointments to be booked approximately six months after receiving a second dose.

Vaccine appointments can be booked online at York Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Site or by calling 1-877-464-9675.

These measures will help reduce the risk of transmission during the winter months and further encourage every eligible Ontarian to get their shot so that Ontario’s hospital capacity is protected.

Ontario continues to have one of the lowest case rates in the country, below the national average, and recent investments combined with high vaccination rates have meant hospital and intensive care unit capacity remains stable.     

However, like other jurisdictions around the world, the province is seeing concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, and additional measures are required to protect our progress for the long-term.

Regardless of what we learn about the Omicron variant, Ontario is prepared to continue to take swift action to ensure the continued health and safety of all Ontarians.

Download Your Enhanced Vaccine Certificate: https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/

 

Learn more: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001327/ontario-taking-action-to-protect-against-omicron-variant