Municipality of Sioux Lookout prepares for proof of vaccination requirements
Tim Brody - Editor
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is preparing for Ontario’s proof of vaccination requirements, which will come into effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
“We understand that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the rules,” explained Municipal CAO, Michelle Larose in a Sept. 16 news release issued by the Municipality. “The department facing the greatest impact is Recreation and Culture. The Province has issued very specific guidance affecting usage of the Recreation Centre and Arena. Everyone needs to be aware of the rules for visiting prior to arrival, because they do vary for different ages and activities.”
The Municipality shared that according to guidance received from the Province of Ontario, proof of vaccination is NOT required for youth (under 18 years of age) who are actively participating in an organized sport. This includes, the Municipality clarified, training, practices, games, and competitions. Examples of these include sports leagues, organized pick-up sports, dance classes, and martial arts.
“Unless a visitor qualifies for an exemption, and can provide proof of exemption, all other uses of the Recreation Centre and Arena for all ages requires proof of vaccination. This includes youth using a gym or other area with exercise equipment or weights, youth spectating at sporting events, and adults (18 years of age or older) accessing the facilities for any purpose. This includes parents or guardians of youth taking part in organized sports.
“It is also important to note that keeping records of personal health information, such as vaccination status, is prohibited. This means that while contact tracing information will continue to be recorded, information regarding anyone’s vaccination status will NOT be recorded by Municipal staff,” the Municipality shared.
Larose added, “If you do not have the copies of your vaccination receipts from the day you received your shots, be sure to download or print them through Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination portal at covid-19.ontario.ca or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line. The number for the booking line is 1-833-943-3900. Be sure to have your Ontario Health Card on hand when you call.”
“Visitors to Ontario will still be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and identification to enter our Recreation Centre or Arena. This identification may include birth certificates, citizenship cards, driver’s licenses, Government issued ID cards including health cards, Status cards, passports, and Permanent Resident cards.
“The Province is working on enhanced digital vaccine certificates, which should be available beginning October 22nd. These will be accepted in printed or digital form,” the Municipality further informed.
Larose clarified, “We are legally obligated to follow the rules as set-out in legislation and regulations respecting proof of vaccination.”
She added, “The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is implementing the rules as set-out by the Provincial Government, and with regard to any recommendations respecting the implementation that are offered by the Northwestern Health Unit. Some organizations have taken additional steps, including requiring their staff to be fully immunized or to undergo regular antigen testing to confirm they are virus-free. We have not implemented this measure at this time, but should the Provincial requirements change to make this a requirement, we will abide by such laws.”
Larose said the provincial government updated its regulations regarding proof of vaccination on Sept. 14 and said municipal staff have been reviewing the regulation and related directives in detail to ensure the municipality is adhering to the Province’s requirements.
Larose said she is hoping for further clarification from the province regarding these requirements, citing as an example, “Some of the Provincial directives seem to conflict: for example, youth between 12 and 17 years are not required to show proof of vaccination if they are participating in organized sports at our facility, however, they are required to show proof of vaccination if they are using the fitness centre equipment. It is our hope that the Province will further clarify its intent and rationale for some of these requirements.”
The Municipality advised that more information on patron requirements in indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities can be found by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/.
Larose concluded, “We are encouraging everyone to do their part and get fully vaccinated. This is for the protection of individuals as well as the broader community. As Mayor Lawrance outlined in his recent Mayor’s Desk article, “Getting vaccinated is one of those things we must do for the good of us all. Getting vaccinated is as much for the protection of the whole as it is for yourself. Remaining unvaccinated is the slippery slope that leads to the disintegration of the social contract that brings the benefits we all enjoy. We must give up a little freedom to maintain a lot of freedom.”