After days of cabinet-level deliberations, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Wednesday that his government will implement proof-of-vaccination requirements for access to numerous non-essential services in the province.

Effective Sept. 22, Ontarians will have to show they're fully vaccinated in order to dine indoors at restaurants and bars, enter a fitness facility, attend an indoor concert or sporting event, or go to the movies, among other settings.

“We need to avoid lockdowns at all costs,” Ford said in a news conference Wednesday. “We want our kids in school and our businesses to stay open. And let's be clear: the (COVID-19) Delta variant is here and it's a very, very real threat.”

Initially, proof will be provided by a paper or PDF receipt of double-vaccinated status, as well as government-issued identification. As of Oct. 22, the provincial government said Ontarians will have access to a unique QR code that businesses will be able to scan using a new app. 

In a technical briefing Wednesday morning, the government emphasized that "at no time" will the vaccine passport requirement be expanded for admission to grocery stores and necessary medical care.

Small business owners in Canada have been mixed in their views on vaccine passports. 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a survey last week showing fewer than half of respondents support a passport requirement for employees in the workplace or customers visiting their business. However, more than half (55 per cent) said they’d support proof-of-vaccination requirements if that spared the economy from another lockdown.