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The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health recently issued Directive #6 COVID-19 Vaccine Policy in Health Care Settings (the “Directive”) regarding the implementation of a mandatory vaccine policies for employees, staff, contractors, volunteers and students in certain health care settings.

The Directive is meant to assist covered organizations with addressing the risk of COVID-19, and in particular the Delta variant, including protecting vulnerable patients and staff. The requirements of the Directive are to be implemented as of today, September 7, 2021.

Below we review the Directive and its requirements for affected organizations.

Please note that the policies referenced in this blog were in force at the time the blog was published.

What Organizations are Covered by the Directive?

The Directive is applicable to the following organizations:

  • Public hospitals within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act;
  • Service providers within the meaning of the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994;
  • Local Health Integration Networks within the meaning of the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006; and
  • Ambulance Services within the meaning of the Ambulance Act, 1990, with respect only to paramedics.

Proof of Vaccination and Antigen Point-of-Care Testing

Pursuant to the Directive, covered organizations must establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for employees, staff, contractors, volunteers and students. Those persons covered under the policy must provide:

  • Proof vaccination against COVID-19; or
  • Proof of a medical reason from a physician or registered nurse that sets out a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the length of time the exemption is anticipated to apply for; or
  • Proof of completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session approved by the organization.
    • The covered organization can remove this option, but must still make an education session available to persons covered under the policy.

If relying on the medical exemption or educational session option, the covered person must submit to regular antigen point-of-care testing and demonstrate a negative result at a minimum of once every seven (7) days.

Businesses (coffee shops, etc.) operating on-site at an organization covered by the Directive must also comply with the covered organization’s policy.

Record Keeping

Organizations covered by the Directive must collect, maintain, and disclose statistical (i.e., non-identifiable) information about the number of persons who provided proof of vaccination, requested a medical exemption or, if applicable, chose the education session. The information may be disclosed to the Ministry of Health, upon request, and may be made public.

Resource Guide

An accompanying resource guide was also introduced and is meant to assist organizations with implementing their mandatory vaccine policies. The guide includes, among other details, an example policy, links to resources that can assist with the creation of an education program and an FAQ section.

Employers Implementing Policies

If applicable employers have vaccination policies in place, they should review the Directive and guidelines to ensure that their policies are in line.

Contact Sultan Lawyers in Toronto for Guidance on Workplace Vaccination Policies

Employers need to continue to consider human rights and privacy concerns of employees and should contact experienced counsel for advice on creating and rolling out appropriate policies.

We encourage you to contact, Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers, for a free call back or flat-rate consultation to better understand your rights and options available to you. Please contact us by telephone at 416-214-5111 or here.

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