NORTH BAY — With vaccine passports coming into place in Ontario this week, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico realizes there will be a small percentage of people that will try to bend the rules to avoid getting vaccinated.
One of those ways is to forge vaccination documents that are required to be displayed to enter many indoor venues in Ontario from gyms to restaurants.
"There are always situations where that is going to occur, where people are going to produce fraudulent vaccine certificates," admitted Chirico during Thursday's weekly online media conference.
"What they need to know too is that you can be prosecuted for doing that."
Officials with the Ministry of Health have told the media that people who provide inaccurate or falsified information to a business could receive a ticket for $750, or a penalty of up to $100,000, or even potentially up to a year in jail.
"The whole process has really been put in place to help everybody so we hope this is a very, very small portion of the population that may be doing something like this, and I think it is," noted Chirico.
"We have had tremendous uptakes on our vaccines. We have noticed that the vaccines have really helped reduce serious illness from hospitalizations and now because of how many people we have had vaccinated and because of the public health measures we are seeing there is a bit of a plateau. Hopefully it stays that way and goes down."
The province is also planning to roll out a digital proof of vaccination that will feature a QR code. That's expected to be available on Oct. 22 and paper or digital documents will still be accepted after that date as well.