Last updated: November 15, 2021 at 5:20 p.m.

Sports, recreation, arts and culture organizations have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting and requiring COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect participants, staff and spectators, and help get back to the activities we enjoy as safely as possible. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at reducing virus spread and protecting against serious illness.

Provincial regulations require that patrons 12 years and older show proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated to enter some indoor settings. These include:

  • Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including personal fitness training
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas

See COVID-19: Proof of Vaccination for more information.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued a Letter of Instruction (amended November 12, 2021) to all persons responsible for businesses and organizations with indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including facility operators and permit holders, in the City of Toronto.

Effective November 1, 2021, they must implement a policy requiring that each person, 12 years and older, who attends an indoor area of the facility for the purpose of:

  1. actively participating in Organized Sports; or
  2. coaching, caregiving at, volunteering at, or officiating Organized Sports,

provide, at the point of entry, identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption each time they enter.

Effective January 1, 2022, children have a grace period of 12 weeks from their 12th birthday during which they must provide identification at the point of entry, but do not need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is to allow a reasonable opportunity for vaccination to be completed.

See Medical Officer of Health Instructions for Businesses and Organizations with Indoor Areas of Facilities Used for Sports and Recreational Fitness Activities for more information.

Businesses and organizations to whom this Letter of Instruction applies can use this letter to communicate the new proof of vaccination requirements to participants, parents and guardians who attend their facility.


Download the Proof of Vaccination Requirements for Indoor Sports Starting November 1st Infographic.

Sports, recreation, arts and culture organizations are encouraged to partner with Toronto Public Health to host onsite vaccination clinics.

Organizations seeking to host onsite COVID-19 immunization clinics are invited to complete a short survey.

Request a Mobile Immunization Clinic

Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to spread in our community. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or none at all, however some children can get very sick. Children can also spread COVID-19 to other people who may be at higher risk, therefore we need to remain cautious.

Benefits of Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination can protect us against severe illness from COVID-19 infection. Getting fully vaccinated helps to protect people who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, such as young children. Vaccination may also reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and prevent further service disruptions. Fully vaccinated participants may not have to self-isolate if they are exposed to someone who was contagious with COVID-19. This can improve participant confidence and allow for a safer return to in-person activities.

Provincial Proof of Vaccination

Provincial regulations require that patrons show proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated to enter some indoor settings. These include:

  • Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including personal fitness training
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas

See COVID-19: Proof of Vaccination for more information.

Letter of Instruction for Indoor Sports and Recreational Fitness Organizations

Indoor sport activities increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. They often involve close contact with other participants and heavy breathing without masks which may expose participants to aerosols and droplets, especially when ventilation is poor. These are all factors that increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. As a result, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has issued a Letter of Instruction (amended November 12, 2021) to make sport and recreation opportunities as safe as possible and protect our communities.

  • Starting November 1, 2021, all people age 12 and older who participate in indoor organized sports, including players, coaches, officials and spectators, are required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or a valid medical exemption.
  • Effective January 1, 2022, children will have a grace period of 12 weeks from their 12th birthday during which they must provide identification at the point of entry, but do not need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is to allow a reasonable opportunity for vaccination to be completed.
  • All persons responsible for businesses and organizations with indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including facility operators and permit holders, in the City of Toronto must implement a policy describing these requirements.
  • Businesses and organizations must comply with the Letter of Instruction in addition to the Ministry of Health’s Proof of Vaccination
  • It is ultimately the responsibility of the facility owner to ensure that all those using the facility comply with regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act, along with the instructions from the Medical Officer of Health.
  • Organized sports may include, but are not limited to, sports leagues, organized pick-up sports, dance classes, gymnastics, martial arts and swimming classes, or as otherwise described in the Ministry of Health’s Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Strategies to Increase Vaccine Uptake

In addition to the provincial and local proof of vaccination requirements described above, organizations can encourage participants and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine with a few simple steps:

  • Create a workplace vaccination policy.
  • Consider requiring COVID-19 vaccination for participation if not already covered in current proof of vaccination policies.
  • Lead by example. Encourage staff, coaches and instructors to lead by example by getting fully vaccinated and sharing their reasons for being vaccinated.
  • Partner with local teams (including mascots), recreational and arts groups to inspire vaccination in your organization.
  • Offer prizes or incentives.
  • Host an onsite vaccine clinic with support from Toronto Public Health.
  • Share information about nearby vaccination clinics with your community.

Have Attendance Lists Available for Contact Management

It is important to have attendance lists to record who was present at each activity. If someone tests positive for COVID-19 and was contagious while at the activity, close contacts will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the last exposure. Anyone who is fully vaccinated may not have to self-isolate.

Continue to Implement Public Health Measures

Organizations are still required to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. Infection, prevention and control (IPAC) and public health measures, such as screening, masking, washing hands and physical distancing, provide additional layers of protection to keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit  COVID-19: Guidelines for Businesses & Community Organizations.

Sports, recreation, arts and culture organizations should communicate proof of vaccination requirements and policies, along with other measures they are implementing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Participant, parent and guardian expectations should be made clear before the program begins. Toronto Public Health has created a draft message template that organizations can use to briefly highlight the steps their organization is taking to protect participants, families, staff and the broader community.

Sports, recreation, arts and culture organizations may receive questions from parents and guardians about options for children who are not vaccinated. Know Your Child’s Risks and Choose Safer Options is a resource organizations can share with parents and guardians.

Please note: the information provided on this webpage does not contain legal advice and should not be relied on or treated as legal advice; those for whom these recommendations are intended may seek their own legal advice for their specific circumstance.