Demonstrators in Ontario, Toronto joined their days-long efforts in protesting against the new vaccine mandate.
The anger burst out after Ontario announced that certain settings would only accept fully vaccinated people who could show proof of their vaccination status.
While the restrictions are not applied to outdoor settings, the list of areas that impose the mandate the Ontario government provides was somewhat widespread:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centers;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness, and recreational facilities except for youth recreational sport;
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs;
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said the push was necessary as they were seeing a rise in new infections.
“As we enter the last mile push to increase vaccination rates, the introduction of a vaccine certificate is an important step to give people the tools to limit further spread of the virus so that we can ensure the safety of all Ontarians while keeping the province open and operational,” Moore said, according to the Ontario notice.
The new system is expected to begin by Sept. 22 this year.
However, not all Ontarians could accept the far-reaching demand, and protests burst out from Sept. 2 until at least Saturday, Sept. 4.
Protestors gathered in front of Toronto Police Headquarters, chanting slogans such as “my body my choice,” with signs that read “just say no” or “freedom.”
It was rumored that hundreds of police officers also joined the demonstrators. Still, according to The Star, the Toronto Police Association (police union) emphasized that police were not involved in the event.
“We wish to advise that the Toronto Police Association is not involved in this protest and does not support this event in any way,” said Jon Reid, TPA president, said to The Star. “We have no further information to provide about this protest, except to emphasize that the TPA has no association (or) affiliation with the event, or the individuals involved.”
Chris Sky, one of the rally leaders against the vaccine mandate, said those who oppose the new COVID-19 policy at the rally made it a “Pro-freedom rally.”
“Look at this crowd today,” Sky told the cheering demonstrators. “We have the people, aligned with the police, against the draconian government, and what do we call that everybody?”
“United non-compliance” was the reply in unison with Sky.
Sky highlighted to the crowd that many businesses have begun to publicly reject these demands, with business owners around the country promising to refuse to enforce the passport restrictions imposed on them.
According to Sky, in British Columbia, over 100,000 businesses have pledged support, with nearly 100,000 in Ontario.
The Star reported that the heated protests had forced Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel his election rally in Bolton, Ontario, on Friday.
“The anger, the frustration, the fear. I hear that. And I know we have to work even harder to be there for each other,” said Trudeau, who did not oppose the new COVID-19 protocols, hence was met with disappointed protestors. “But we need to meet that anger with compassion because that’s who we are as Canadians.”