Fact Check: Canada Does NOT Discriminate Against Phoneless With Proof-Of-Vaccination QR Code System

Fact Check

  • by: Courtney Kealy
Fact Check: Canada Does NOT Discriminate Against Phoneless With Proof-Of-Vaccination QR Code System Printable QR

Does Canada discriminate against the phoneless by requiring proof of vaccinations with a printed QR code? No, that's not true: Paper copies of the proof of vaccination QR code are acceptable; they do not have to be on a phone to show proof of vaccination. The claim appeared in a video from a Facebook post (archived here) on February 8, 2022, with the caption "CANADA discriminates against the phone-less." It opened with a woman saying:

He's still screwed tell us your story.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-02-18 at 1.29.23 PM.png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Feb 18 18:29:23 2022 UTC)

The man with the beard says he went to "see a movie at a cineplex that reopened today. When I walked in there I gave 'em my passport with the three vaccines and a flu shot." He holds up a piece of paper that has the words Ontario clearly visible and says, "plus all the id they wanted." He says he was told he needs a "q code." The woman standing next to him in the frame of the video interjects, "He needs a QR code."

Lead Stories contacted the media relations department at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. They emailed on February 17, 2022:

The federal government is not responsible for the issuing of QR codes as proof of vaccination. The QR codes are issued by the provinces and territories, who are responsible for immunization of their respective populations. The video you refer to shows the person holding a document from the province of Ontario.

The media relations department for the Ontario Health Department provided Lead Stories links to press releases but did not comment in emails on February 17, 2022, and February 18, 2022.

This Ontario webpage says you can "call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre ... to have your enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to you." Residents can show either an electronic or paper copy along with a piece of identification with their name and date of birth.

People with no access to computers and printers can print paper copies for free at public libraries, according to the CBC.

A press release from the office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford on February 14, 2022, says Ontario will lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings on March 1, 2022.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Courtney Kealy

Courtney Kealy is a writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she specializes in national and foreign affairs with more than two decades experience in the Middle East. Her work has appeared on FOX News, AlJazeera America, ABC News, the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time and Newsweek.

Read more about or contact Courtney Kealy

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