In anticipation of Ontario’s new vaccine passport, the group created an immunization verification tool that allows users to upload their receipt from the Ministry of Health and convert it to an Apple pass or photo for easy access. They say it’s a way to save customers and businesses time when verifying certificates.
“It takes time to enforce the mandate; if we can help save even 10 seconds per person, you can do [doing business] much easier, ”said Billy Lo, one of the volunteers who developed the tool, which is available at grassroots.vaccine-ontario.ca.
Ontario’s official QR code will be available on October 22, and volunteers say users will once again be able to update their Apple Wallet pass when it comes out.
The initiative comes as the province’s COVID-19 passport system launched on Wednesday, September 22, with its own verification app and an enhanced vaccination receipt with a QR code is expected on October 22. In the meantime, customers will have to show their receipt. to enter many non-essential locations.
These include restaurants, bars, gyms, gymnasiums, theaters, cinemas and casinos. Staff at these sites should ask clients to prove that they have received two doses of an approved vaccine at least two weeks previously, as well as a piece of identification that matches their vaccination document.
Faster for businesses to verify
Here’s how it works: Users can go to grassroots.vaccine-ontario.ca on their phone and download their official Department of Health vaccination receipt.
After downloading, users have the option to save the QR code to their digital Apple Wallet or save the QR code as a photo.
Once in the Apple Wallet or saved as a photo, businesses can scan the green QR code through their phone’s camera, which then displays a prompt that the vaccination status has been verified.
It is an alternative to the current system in the province which will require showing a physical or digital copy of the vaccination receipt issued by the ministry until October 22.
“Simple color coding will speed things up,” Lo said.
He said the QR code provides transparency to the current system. Vaccination receipts contain a lot of personal and medical information, while their QR code uses a randomly generated 36 character token for verification.
The reception has been massive, Lo said. In the past few days, he said they have grown from 30,000 users to 485,000.
Meanwhile, the provincial government’s internal audit app will only be aimed at businesses when it is released at the end of next month, said Kaleed Rasheed, associate minister for digital government. Customers will receive a QR code and businesses will use the new app to scan the codes. The QR code is developed by the Ministry of Health.
“I think it’s very convenient, user-friendly, and the interface is great,” Rasheed said. “I think businesses will like the product we are launching. “
Rasheed said the province is on track to release the verification app by October 22. While developing the app, Rasheed said the ministry received “very good feedback” from companies it consulted with.
“The verification app will be downloadable from Google Play or the Apple Store,” Rasheed said. “You scan a QR code, and it will provide a check mark for someone to enter the facility, or an X that shows you are not fully immunized. “
As for the grassroots vaccine checker, Rasheed said his priority is to protect privacy, and he added that the government app will do just that.
The Department of Health reaffirmed Rasheed’s statements, saying he “takes the privacy of Ontarians’ health data seriously.” as he develops the QR code that will go live next month.
“In the meantime, Ontarians can download a secure certificate with a watermark or use the receipt that was emailed to them or given to them at the time of vaccination,” ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Hilkene said in an email.