Mississauga business group joins call for COVID-19 vaccine passport in Ontario

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The Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) wants to see a kind of COVID-19 vaccine passport in Ontario with one caveat: It can't hurt businesses' ability to operate.

MBOT's executive committee voted to support a "COVID-19 proof-of-immunization" program July 20, calling on the federal government to implement a national standard for showing vaccination status or for Ontario to consider its own.

In a letter to federal and Ontario officials, MBOT asks that any vaccine proof passport be voluntary and "not compromise a business's operations or ability to function."

In an interview, MBOT's president and CEO David Wojcik said that not all businesses are set up to enforce and verify a patron's COVID-19 vaccination status.

"If we start saying it's mandatory for a convenience store to check to see if somebody is double vaccinated or single vaccinated, I mean, that may destroy a convenience store business, where very often there's only one person there that's stocking shelves and minding the cash register," he said.

Businesses can turn away customers for a number of reasons but could also face legal consequences by doing so if there's a belief that there may have been a violation of an individual's human rights.

That creates a potentially tricky situation for those who can't be vaccinated due to their age, or those have been advised to avoid the shot due to pre-existing health conditions.

While noting there are unanswered questions on privacy and other issues, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie recently asked for consideration of a vaccine passport and said it's something that the federal and provincial governments "need to come to terms with."