Across Ontario, more and more small businesses are taking a stand against the province's vaccine passport.
From Toronto to Hamilton and everywhere in between, small businesses have been impacted by Ontario's introduction of a proof of vaccination system, which has now come to be known as a vaccine passport. The policy requires that certain "non-essential" businesses verify the vaccination status of potential patrons, and refuse entry to those who cannot prove they have received both doses.
Ontario's vaccine passport has garnered support from some, and condemnation from others who see it as a violation of peoples' rights and freedoms, as well as the beginning of a slippery slope towards more government involvement in citizens' private lives.
A Facebook group called Ontario Businesses Against Health Pass was created on August 25 in order to "compile a list of businesses that believe a health passport in Ontario is unconstitutional." The group urges Ontarians to "make the biggest change with where we decide to spend OUR money." At the time of writing, there are nearly 140,000 members.
As the Toronto Star reports, the group is full of small business owners letting others know that they will not check patrons' vaccination status. "Vaxxed or not vaxxed you are all welcome to train in a safe and friendly environment," one post from the operator of a jiu jitsu class in Thornhill reads. "No BS. No politics. No Drama!"
The Ontario government has said it will deal with businesses that defy provincial orders by taking an education-first approach, giving owners the opportunity to change their policies before being dealt a fine. Penalties range from $1,000 to $10 million, according to the Toronto Star.