Several Ontario hospitals jointly enact mandatory COVID vaccine policy; extends to new hires

TORONTO — The leaders of 14 hospitals in Ontario’s central region have come up with a joint COVID-19 vaccination policy that they say will ultimately lead to unpaid leave or termination for unvaccinated staff.

The CEOs and chiefs of staff have sent a letter to staff outlining their hospitals’ shared policy, which includes mandatory vaccination for new employees.

As of Sept. 7, all employees, credentialed staff, contractors, students and volunteers will have to provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular testing and an education session.

Read more: Ontario government mandating COVID-19 vaccine policies for high-risk settings

That’s in line with a directive from the province earlier this month that mandates employers in health and education to have staff disclose vaccination status by that date or face the education session and testing requirements.

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The hospitals, including Humber River Hospital, Mackenzie Health and Trillium Health Partners, will have a “progressive plan” that will ultimately see harsher consequences for unvaccinated employees, with facilities enacting varying deadlines.

The CEOs say if staff are still unvaccinated and without a medical exemption by those dates, it will lead to “unpaid leave and/or termination for cause.”

Read more: Ontario’s top doctor cancels weekly COVID-19 briefing amid vaccine passport deliberations

“COVID-19 cases are starting to increase again in our communities and across the province with the most severe impacts affecting those who are unvaccinated,” the letter reads.

“As a health system, we need to do everything possible to safeguard our patients, families, communities and those who provide their care.”

The other hospitals involved are Georgian Bay General Hospital, Halton Healthcare Services Corporation, Headwaters Health Care Centre, Oak Valley Health, North York General Hospital, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and William Osler Health System.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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