As of September 22, the Province of Ontario requires members of the public to be fully vaccinated to enter all indoor meeting, sports and recreation facilities, including county arenas and community halls (O. Reg. 645/21), with limited exceptions.
By provincial law, to enter any County recreation or community centre, visitors and participants must provide proof of vaccination as well as identification (e.g. driver’s license or health card), unless they meet exemption criteria identified below.
Proof of vaccination is two (2) doses of vaccine, with the second dose administered at least 14 days prior.
A copy of the vaccine receipt received after a second vaccination — or obtained through the Province of Ontario website (https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/) — will be accepted as proof of vaccination.
County staff have no ability to exempt or make exceptions to this policy, and anyone unable to provide proof of vaccination will not be allowed to enter the facility.
Visitors are asked to be respectful of staff implementing this provincial law. Arguing with, harassing or trying to intimidate staff is not acceptable and may result in being banned from the facility. In the event of harassment or threats of acts of violence, law enforcement will be contacted.
Haldimand County will continue to provide updates about the proof of vaccination regulation as required.
To further explain how this regulation will affect members of the public visiting county arenas and community halls, a comprehensive FAQ has been developed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How does this law impact children and youth (e.g. those under 18 years of age)?
All children under 12 years of age are exempt from showing proof of vaccination to enter County recreation and community facilities.
Unvaccinated youth aged 12 to 17 years of age can enter recreation/community facilities if the purpose of their visit is only to participate in an organized sport, in accordance with guidance published by the Ministry of Health.
Youth aged 12 to 17 years of age who are not participating in organized sport will be required to show proof of vaccination.
How is ‘organized sport’ defined?
Organized sport is defined as activities governed by an association or organization requiring formal registration and includes training, practice sessions and games or matches (e.g. minor hockey).
How does the regulation impact coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers supporting organized sport?
Although the provincial regulation does not require these individuals to be fully vaccinated, Haldimand County Council has made the decision to require coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated. Although this goes beyond the Province’s regulation, it is within the municipality’s authority and is intended to be consistent with the requirements for all other adults and volunteers accessing recreation and community centres for other activities (e.g. walking track, meetings, etc.) and better protects the health and safety of the public, participants, staff and volunteers at these facilities.
Given this County requirement, coaches, officials, trainers and volunteers supporting organized sport will be given until October 31 to become fully vaccinated.
How does the law impact participants attending registered drop-in programs (e.g. shinny, indoor walking, Sit to be Fit, etc.)?
Proof of vaccination is required for all participants 12 years of age or older.
How does the law impact spectators and guardians?
By law, anyone accompanying the athlete as a spectator or guardian must show proof of vaccination and proof of identify if they are 12 years of age or older.
What is the definition of fully vaccinated?
Under the law, a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if,
- they have received,
- the full series of COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines;
- one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada; or,
- three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and,
- they received their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before providing the proof of being fully vaccinated.
What if I don’t want to disclose my vaccination status?
No one is obligated to disclose their vaccination status. However, should you make the decision not to divulge this information, you will not be permitted to enter Haldimand County recreation and community facilities.
Is anyone exempt from showing proof of vaccination?
Children under 12 years of age and youth aged 12-17 years who are actively participating in organized sport are exempt.
Persons who provide a written document—completed and supplied by a physician or registered nurse in the extended class (e.g. nurse practitioner)—that sets out the medical reason for not being fully vaccinated and the effective time period for the medical reason are exempt.
Patrons entering an indoor area solely for the following purposes: to use a washroom; to access customer service or pay a bill; to purchase admission; as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
Will I have to show my vaccine certificate and personal identification every time I come to an Arena?
In accordance with the law, Haldimand County will not retain any vaccination or personal information shown prior to a visit. This means that proof of vaccination and personal identification will have to be shown for every visit.
By October 22, the Province of Ontario plans to have available an enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app (QR code) to provide a more secure and convenient way to show—when required—that you have been fully vaccinated.
How does the law impact rentals of meeting rooms/event spaces and community halls?
By law, anyone 12 years of age and older attending an event in a meeting room or at a community hall must show proof of vaccination and proof of identity.
The only exemptions are anyone entering the indoor premises of a meeting or event space for the purposes of attending a social gathering associated with a wedding service/rite/ceremony or a social gathering associated with a funeral service/rite/ceremony—on or after September 22, 2021, but before October 13, 2021—as long as the patron provides, to the person responsible for the establishment, the results of an antigen test administered within the previous 48 hours establishing that the person is negative for COVID-19.
What effect do the policies of other organizations (e.g. Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Ontario Women’s Hockey Association)–including exemptions—have on facility access?
The policies of other independent organizations have no impact on facility access and do not replace or supersede any part of the Province’s regulation, which is what the County is bound to and must administer.
I believe I am eligible for an exemption for health and safety purposes to ensure the safe access of my child. Why isn’t the County accepting this exemption?
While the provincial regulation does allow an exemption as necessary for the purpose of health safety, this is limited to access by Police, Fire and Emergency Services personnel.
I believe I am eligible for a religious exemption as part of my human rights. Why isn’t the County accepting religious exemptions?
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has indicated that, while receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, mandating proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (the Code) as long as protections are in place to ensure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated. While the Code prohibits discrimination based on creed, personal preferences and singular beliefs (e.g. religious beliefs) do not amount to a creed for the purposes of the Code. The duty to accommodate does not necessarily require an individual be exempted from vaccine mandates. The duty to accommodate can be limited if it would significantly compromise health and safety amounting to undue hardship, such as during a pandemic.