A sign points the way to a polling station for voting in the 2021 Canadian election in Oshawa, Ontario on September 20, 2021 ( AFP / Geoff Robins)

Ontario is not barring unvaccinated voters from polls

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Social media posts claim that unvaccinated individuals will be barred from voting in person in the June 2022 Ontario provincial election. But Elections Ontario says the Covid-19 policy shown in the posts only applies to individuals who work or conduct business in its offices, not to voters.

"So if I am not Vaccinated, I will be denied my my right to vote in person in June? This is not Canada!" said a January 9, 2022 Facebook post.

The posts include a screenshot that says: "Elections Ontario has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination policy."

"As of December 1, 2021, vendors, consultants, and visitors to Elections Ontario must show proof that they are fully vaccinated and provide proof of identity upon entry into Elections Ontario facilities, including field locations. Failure to comply and/or provide vaccine confirmation will result in denial of entry to Elections Ontario premises," it says.

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on January 13, 2022

The same screenshot had been spread by the People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, who suggested but did not directly claim in a January 9 Facebook post that unvaccinated voters will be barred from voting in person in the upcoming provincial election.

Ontarians will go to the polls on June 2 for a general election and on October 24 for municipal elections.

More than 82 percent of people in Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Proof of vaccination is currently required to enter certain facilities, including outdoor areas that have a normal capacity of 20,000 or more people.

But Elections Ontario -- the non-partisan office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario -- says the claim that unvaccinated voters will be barred from the polls is false.

"Elections Ontario's internal Covid-19 vaccination policy applies to all individuals who work and/or conduct business within its offices," a spokesperson told AFP by email.

"It does not apply to voters wishing to cast their ballot at voting locations in Ontario's upcoming election," the spokesperson said.

The policy shared in the social media posts had appeared on an Elections Ontario website, but the agency said it "has since been removed from our website due to its misinterpretation."

AFP Fact Check examined similar false claims that proof of vaccination would be required to vote in person for the September 2021 federal election.