COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates

IMPORTANT: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer needed to enter certain businesses (like restaurants). However, businesses and other organizations may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination for anyone to enter their premises if they so choose.

A written medical exemption from a health care provider is no longer valid and will not be accepted. Here are the steps to follow to get an enhanced medical exemption (with QR code) for vaccine proof.


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Get Your Proof of Vaccination
If You Received Your COVID-19 Vaccine in Ontario:

Proof of vaccine is no longer needed to enter certain businesses (unless a business or setting chooses to continue this requirement). If you still require an enhanced vaccine certificate QR code, visit the Province’s COVID-19 vaccination portal or call 1-833-943-3900 to print or download your proof of vaccine (by calling, you can also have the vaccine certificate mailed to you. Many local libraries are also offering to access/print vaccine certificates with QR code) IMPORTANT NOTE: Ontario’s enhanced vaccine certificate can also be used as a proof of vaccination for travel outside of Canada (you do not need a separate federal document showing this).

Any proof of vaccine receipt that does not include the official QR code is not valid.

If You Received Vaccine Outside of Ontario

Please click here to find out what to do about registering out-of-province COVID-19 vaccinations.

Visitors from outside of Canada who do not have access to a QR code from their home jurisdiction or country may show their own country’s or jurisdiction’s vaccine receipt(s) to prove they are fully vaccinated and must show their valid non-Canadian passport or NEXUS card as ID. Please refer to Ontario’s Proof of COVID-19 vaccination webpage for more info.

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If You Need a Medical Exemption

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required to enter certain businesses in Ontario. However, individual businesses and organizations can still choose to require proof of vaccination. Proof of vaccine or medical exemptions may also be needed if travelling within and outside of Canada.

If proof of vaccine is still required to enter or visit somewhere, you can get a medical exemption to enter. To get a medical exemption, follow these steps. NOTE: A written medical exemption from a health care provider is no longer valid and will not be accepted.

To Get Your New Medical Exemption
  • Contact a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner to be assessed and determine if you are eligible for a medical exemption (Please Note: Medical exemptions may have an expiry date. It is your responsibility to check back with your health care provider to have your circumstances reassessed and to see if a new request for medical exemption needs to be submitted to the Health Unit).
  • If eligible, the health care provider will submit your medical exemption directly to the local Health Unit for review. 
  • The Health Unit will review the submitted medical exemption, and if approved, enter the information into the provincial vaccine tracking system.
  • You can then download your enhanced vaccine certificate with the QR code on the COVID-19 vaccination portal. (NOTE: It will take approximately 10 business days for the exemption to be processed from the time it is sent to the Health Unit)
Medical Exemptions for Travel

If a medical exemption for vaccination is needed for travel, check first with your destination and carrier (e.g. airline, cruise or railway company) for specific requirements. Travelers should also check with the federal government for travel and COVID requirements 

In certain cases, an exemption request can be submitted directly to the airline, cruise, or railway company by the health care provider. Existing provincial medical exemptions may be accepted in lieu of the medical doctor or nurse practitioner’s signature.  

For Health Care Providers
  • If you receive a request for medical exemption from a client, please ensure the client is eligible by referring to Medical Exemption Guidance (gov.on.ca).
  • Once complete, please fax the medical exemption to the Health Unit at 905-885-5352 for review.

NOTE: Medical exemptions issued outside of Ontario are not eligible for an enhanced vaccine certificate at this time. For more information, visit the Medical Exemptions page on the Government of Ontario website.

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Information for Businesses and Organizations

Proof of vaccine is no longer required. However, your business or organization can continue to require it if needed.

Verify Ontario App

As of June 24, 2022, the Verify Ontario Mobile app used to scan for vaccine QR codes is no longer available.

Additional Resources for Businesses

Businesses and organizations can also submit additional questions to the Ontario Ministry of Health

De-Escalating Possible Confrontations

Watch these Health Unit videos for ways to handle and defuse difficult situations when asking patrons/customers for proof of COVID-19 vaccination:

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Exemptions to Vaccine Certificates

If your business/organization chooses to continue requiring proof of vaccine for customers/patrons, the following individuals are exempt from having to show proof:

  • Children under age 12 (who are not currently eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines)
  • Individuals who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to eligible medical exemptions or who are participating in an active, Health Canada Approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial must now follow a new process. Click here to learn how to get an enhanced medical exemption (with QR code) for vaccine proof.
  • Someone who enters an indoor area solely for the following purposes: to use a washroom; to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route; to make a retail purchase; to place or pick up a takeout order; to place a bet or pick up winnings (in the case of a horse racing track); while paying for an order; to purchase admission; or for the purposes of health and safety
  • Workers, contractors, repair workers, delivery workers, students, volunteers, inspectors or others who are entering the business or organization for work purposes and not as patrons/customers.
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COVID-19 Video Resources

COVID-19 Video Resources

Get COVID-19 prevention tips by watching these videos. Visit our YouTube channel for a full selection of all our videos.


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COVID-19 Vaccines- Videos

General COVID-19 Prevention Videos

Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Videos

Printable COVID-19 Resources

Download and print these COVID-19 resources below:

Image of AODA compliant 'Keep Your Distance on Elevators' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Keep Your Distance on Elevators’ poster – click as a link

Keep Distance on Elevators
Poster

Image of maximum occupance poster – click as a link

Max Occupancy – Businesses
Poster

Living With COVID-19 at Work

Help your business or organization find ways to live well alongside COVID-19. Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, the virus is still circulating in the community with both hospitalizations and deaths occurring in vulnerable populations.

With the lifting of most COVID-related restrictions, organizations and businesses will have an opportunity to determine their own workplace policies. These policies will create an environment where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is low for employees and members of the public. Having a policy also helps to maintain business continuity.

The Province has provided information and guide for developing a workplace safety plan/risk assessment. Read on for more ways to help employees and staff live well alongside COVID-19.


On This Page:

Find a printable version of this web page information here

Tips for Businesses and Organizations to Support Living Well Alongside COVID-19
  • Encourage and support management and employees to be mentally and physically healthy by: eating well, being physically active, getting enough sleep, and connecting with and supporting others to help cope with stress and build resiliency.
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Suggestions to Create a Healthy Supportive Workplace Environment
  • Continue to follow ‘COVID etiquette,’ Cover sneezes and coughs, keep distance between people, regular handwashing/use hand sanitizer, follow workplace policies, respect people’s choice to wear a mas
  • Have a COVID-19 screening policy for employees before they come to work using the provincial screening tool and consider having a process in place to support individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms to stay home when sick. This can include:
    • Paid sick days.
    • System for workers to contact the workplace when sick
  • Have a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy that recommends employees are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Consider having employees wear a well-fitted medical/N95 mask for additional personal protection and to reduce transmission when they are away from their personal work station or interacting with the public who may be unmasked and where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Reduce opportunities for close contact:
    • Maintain impermeable barriers such as Plexiglass at high-traffic areas (E.g. reception areas, cash registers, etc.)
    • Set up workstations so employees are two metres apart from each other or add impermeable barriers if two-metre distance cannot be achieved.
    • Encourage physical distancing in the workplace or public area through visual cues, including signage and using reminder stickers on the floor.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in public areas
  • Continue a high standard of cleaning for surfaces that are frequently touched. Cleaning frequency is based on use. Learn more about cleaning and disinfecting public spaces here.
  • Increase ventilation by opening a window, maintain your HVAC system, or consider installing HEPA filers appropriately sized for your space.
  • Set up a safe space for workers to have lunch and breaks:
    • Schedule breaks to reduce the number of people eating together
    • Offer ideas for where lunches and breaks can be enjoyed safely
    • Offer healthy options for staff when providing food (E.g. water, fruit and vegetables)
    • Provide opportunities for activity breaks (like taking a walk outdoors).
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Hosting a Meeting or Event – Public Health Measures to Consider
  • Use a large room with plenty of space for participants to spread out and consider holding events outdoors where possible
  • Encourage physical distancing.
  • In the meeting or event invitation, ask people:
    • To check for symptoms before they come
    • To wear a mask if they wish
    • Encourage people to be up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Encourage an atmosphere of respect for a person’s choice to wear a mask or not.
  • Maintain impermeable barriers such as Plexiglass at high-traffic areas (E.g. reception, cash registers, ticket booths, etc.)
  • Post a sign with COVID-19 symptoms at the entrance and ask people not to enter if they have a symptom(s).
  • Use a hybrid meeting model of video conferencing and in-person attendance to help reduce crowding.
  • Select a location where the ventilation system has been properly maintained with HEPA filters and where windows can be opened.
  • Provide a microphone for those who are speaking.
  • Spread out food and beverage tables and other places where people might gather.
  • Encourage attendees to remain seated while eating or drinking.
  • Have hand sanitizer readily available.
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– Adapted with Permission from Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Cleaning and Disinfection in Public Spaces

Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces is important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 spread and other illnesses. Follow this guidance on the proper cleaning and disinfecting of spaces.


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What you should know
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants (with viricidal claim) are effective against COVID-19. Click here for a specific list of hard-surface disinfectants that are known to be effective against COVID-19. You can also click here for a list of hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers accepted under COVID-19 Interim Measure.
  • Frequently or high-touch surfaces are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. The DIN can be found on the disinfectant container label, usually in very fine print.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Follow these public health guidelines for cleaning/disinfecting public washrooms
  • Although touching contaminated surfaces is not the main way COVID-19 is spread, cleaning your hands is important, particularly after handling surfaces and objects that are not or cannot be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. porous objects).
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces twice per day
  • In addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
  • High-touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • In addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting, check with your organization for any specific protocols for cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19.
Select products
Cleaners
  • Break down grease and remove organic material from the surface.
  • If used separately, always use cleaner to clean the surface area before applying disinfectants.
  • Can be purchased with cleaner and disinfectant combined in a single product. These products are called ‘cleaner disinfectants.’
Icon of a sponge filled with bubbles
Disinfectants
Icon of a spray bottle of disinfectant
Disinfectant Wipes
  • Have combined cleaners and disinfectants in the same wipe.
  • May become dry due to fast drying properties. They should not be used if they become dry.
  • Ensure surfaces are saturated with cleaner disinfectant while using wipes.
  • Not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
Prepare products for use
  • Where possible, use pre-mixed solution.
  • Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions to:
    • properly prepare solution
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label for specific contact time)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning or disinfecting products (including wipes)
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer.
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is based on the updated Public Health Ontario fact sheet: COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

How to Clean/Disinfect a Carpet to Eliminate COVID-19

The best option is to cover the carpet with vinyl or other material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. If that’s not possible, do the following:

  • For regular cleaning and disinfecting, use a steam cleaner (the temperature is high enough to eliminate COVID)
  • For situations involving a biological spill, follow these steps:
    • Gather disposable towels, cleaners, disinfectants and other supplies you need to deal with the spill.
    • Don’t allow access to area until the spill is cleaned, disinfected and completely dry.
    • Put on gloves and facial protection (such as mask and eye protection, or face shield). If there is a possibility of splashing, wear a gown too.
    • Mop up as much of the spill as possible with disposable towels
    • Disinfect the entire spill area with a Health Canada approved disinfectant, allowing it to stand for the length of time of time recommended by the manufacturer. Do not use spray for this step.
    • In a waste receptacle, safely dispose of the gloves, disposable towels, and other materials used to wipe up the spill.
    • Remove gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
    • Steam clean the carpet.
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Physical Distancing at Work

  • Important Note: Most COVID-related restrictions have been lifted in Ontario, including the requirement to wear masks inside most public settings (masks are still required in long-term care homes and retirement homes). Individual locations and businesses can also continue to require mask use for customers/clients if they so choose.
  • Consider developing and implementing a workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy to help protect employees and the public from COVID-19.

Keeping your distance at work can help prevent the spread of COVID-19:


  • Encourage staff and customers to maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) wherever possible. 
  • Offer alternatives to customers such as delivery or pick up services. Consider partnering with a non-profit group to provide delivery options for vulnerable clients/customers who may have a hard time accessing your services. 
  • Post self-screening signage at entrances to tell customers to delay their visit  if they are sick.
  • Implement strategies to help eliminate customer lineups, such as extended shopping hours 
  • Stagger employee use of common break spaces 
  • Replace face-to-face meetings with tele- or video-conferencing options. If meeting in-person, space yourselves out or consider wearing masks if closer than 2 metres apart. 
  • Postpone or cancel non-essential work travel.
  • While wearing of non-medical masks or face coverings is no longer required inside public settings, workplaces may still require their use. Individuals can also choose to continue wearing masks, which is important in situations where physical distancing is difficult.
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Employee Health and Safety During COVID-19

Know your rights as an employee when it comes to health and safety during COVID-19.

  • Important Note: Most COVID-related restrictions have been lifted in Ontario, including the requirement to wear masks inside most public settings (masks are still required in long-term care homes and retirement homes). Individual locations and businesses can also continue to require mask use for customers/clients if they so choose.
  • Consider developing and implementing a workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy to help protect employees and the public from COVID-19.
Resources/Legislation

All levels of governments are providing support and protection for people affected by coronavirus. The following resources can help you understand your rights. (Information is current at the time of this posting; please check official government websites for the most recent updates):   

Ontario Human Rights Commission FAQs 
Explains your rights during COVID-19 in series of questions and answers.

Ontario Government

The Ontario government has set out health and safety protections for workers during COVID-19. All workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. Some of the protections are included in the following: 

If you have identified a health and safety issue at your workplace, contact your manager or supervisor, your Joint Health and Safety Committee representative, and/or your union representative.  

For Additional Complaints/Concerns
  • If you’re unable to resolve concerns, or want to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality, or work refusal, call the Health and Safety Contact Centre at the Ministry of Labour to report your issue.  You can speak to a representative at 1-877-202-0008.
  • For less urgent health and safety issues, file an online complaint now.  The Health and Safety Contact Centre will review and respond in due course. 
  • If you’ve been fired or punished for exercising your rights under the Ontario Health and Safety Act, you can file a reprisal complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Business Questions

Temporary Foreign Workers and COVID-19

The local Health Unit works closely with area farmers to ensure temporary (or migrant) workers can work safely during COVID-19.


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Section 22 Order For Farms Employing Migrant Workers – Rescinded

NEW! – As of June 3, 2022, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has canceled the Section 22 Class Order that had applied to owners/operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers. The Order had required farms to take additional steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for farm workers and local residents. The local Medical Officer of Health has determined this Order is no longer required and has lifted it.

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COVID-19 Control Resources/Guidance

Working With Farm Operators to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 on Farms – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Outbreak Guidance: Workplace Living Settings for Seasonal International Agricultural Workers – Ontario Ministry of Health (Updated April 14/22)

COVID-19 At-Home Collection Kits – Switch Health

Quarantine and Mandatory Testing Information for Temporary Foreign Workers – Government of Canada

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Health Unit Role

The Health Unit works to protect the health of workers and the well-being of the entire community by preventing the spread of the virus. This ensures area farms operate safely according to guidelines, while allowing our local communities to stay well-fed and have access to quality, locally-produced food.

During COVID-19, the Health Unit follows provincial directives and federal guidelines for temporary foreign workers. Throughout the growing season, Health Unit staff work directly with local farmer operators to ensure these guidelines are followed and understood. Health Unit staff will:

  • Conduct regular housing/accommodation inspections.
  • Respond to inquiries about infection prevention and control and current COVID-19 regulations/guidelines.
  • Provide updated information and resources as needed.
  • Support operators in accessing testing or vaccination for workers.
  • Provide information and support in the event of an outbreak.

Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, regarding inspections and ext. 5020 for other COVID-19 questions and information.

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Information for Agricultural/Farm Owners and Operators

Resources for Farm Owners Operators:

How to Reduce the Spread of Illness
  • Workers should be educated on how to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ensure workers have information available in their first language. Visit the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website for a variety of resources in different languages, including videos, fact sheets and posters.
  • Encourage regular hand hygiene by following proper handwashing and hand sanitizing methods.
  • Post hand hygiene signs in visible locations (like in washrooms, above sinks, dispenser holders).
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) onsite should have an alcohol concentration between 70%- 90%.
  • Liquid handsoap, paper towels and ABHR dispensers should be checked regularly to ensure they are full. Single-use, disposable products are preferred. If using refillable dispensers, ensure they are cleaned first followed by disinfection between refills.
  • Post additional posters as needed in high-visible locations (ideally in workers’ first language) to reinforce the message not to spread germs and cover your cough. Find English printable resources here, as well as printable posters on Hand Hygiene (Spanish) and Reduce Your Risk of COVID-19 (Spanish).
  • Practise proper respiratory etiquette. This includes coughing/sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hand). Wash hands with soap and water or ABHR immediately afterwards.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces regularly and more often when someone is ill. These include doorknobs, light switches, handrails, faucets, fridge handles, keyboards, and phones.
  • Never share items that come into contact with the mouth or nose such as toothbrushes, eating/drinking utensils, or cigarettes/smoking devices.
  • Personal grooming items should not be shared (like hand towels, combs, brushes, shaving equipment, and nail cutters). Personal items should be kept separate for each worker.
  • Only allow one person at a time to use shared spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom or TV room. If necessary, create a schedule for workers to use common spaces in shifts to maintain physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart from others). Reconfigure common spaces so seating ensures physical distancing. These areas should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Workers should not eat together unless physical distancing is possible. Try to get them to eat at different times or have workers eat meals in their own rooms. Be sure to clean all surfaces between meal seatings.
  • Remove shared food containers from dining areas (like pitchers of water, salt and pepper shakers).
  • Encourage workers to remain in their room as much as possible. If rooms are shared, workers should keep as far apart from each other to maintain the 2 metre (6 foot) distance requirement.
  • Arrange for the delivery of groceries and other personal items to reduce the need for workers to leave the farm.
  • Contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, if any of your workers screen positive for COVID-19 during your daily active screening.
  • Notify the Health Unit immediately if any migrant worker needs to leave the farm/isolation location for ANY reason during their quarantine period. This could include seeking medical attention.
  • Have a plan in place for isolating any worker(s) who become ill or test positive for COVID-19.
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What To Do if a Worker Becomes Ill
  • If a worker starts having symptoms, isolate them immediately and follow the steps in this document.
  • Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, if you need further direction
  • Isolation means that a symptomatic individual has his/her own private bedroom and bathroom. Ensure:
    • The room has good airflow (open windows as weather permits)
    • The ill worker can be kept 2 metres away from others who are not sick
    • Workers wear a surgical/procedure mask if they are to leave their room.
    • Meals are brought to sick workers. If possible, use single-use cutlery or dishes and properly dispose of them in a garbage bag. If re-usable cutlery or dishes are used, avoid touching the items directly (such as placing them on a tray). Wash your hands with soap and water and immediately wash the dishes as well
    • Hand sanitizer is present in the room. If the room must be shared by more than one individual with confirmed COVID-19, they are not required to wear masks.
  • If the worker must be tested at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, arrange private transportation by having the worker wear a surgical/procedure mask, sit alone in the backseat and open the car windows if possible. The driver should wear a mask.
  • In most cases, sick individuals can recover on the farm. They should be monitored several times a day to ensure symptoms do not worsen.
  • If the unwell worker gets worse and needs to go to the hospital because of severe symptoms (like severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up, confusion, loss of consciousness), call 9-1-1 and let responders know the person is suspected of having COVID-19.
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Additional Recommendations for Agricultural Workplaces
  • Screen all workers upon arrival each day using screening criteria. Isolate any person with symptoms. Use the online Worker Screening Tool and follow its recommendations.
  • Stagger meetings and breaks to minimize the number of workers in one place.
  • Designate travel paths so workers do not have to pass each other closely or have workers call out before entering a shared space.
  • Hold meetings outside or in a large area to allow people to stay apart 2-metres (6-feet).
  • Provide access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations throughout the site. If hands are visibly dirty, they must be washed with soap and water.
  • Clean offices, washrooms, lunchrooms, trailers, workspaces and other shared spaces at least once a day. Focus on commonly touched surfaces such as pens, tools, radios, tables, chairs, handles, handrails, kettles, microwaves, and light switches.
  • Clean shared tools with alcohol or disinfectant wipes. Wear gloves if cleaning is not practical.
  • Assign one driver/operator per vehicle if possible. Clean and disinfect vehicles between uses (steering wheel, gear shift, controls, interior/exterior door handles, etc.)
  • Ensure farm employees are assigned to the same team/group/work pod that is separated from other individuals and teams.
  • Within the team/work pod, workers should maintain a 2 metre (6-foot) physical distance from others as best as possible. The need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be based on a risk assessment. Speak to the Health Unit for more guidance on PPE.
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COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: Information for Employers

Local employers are encouraged to develop and implement a workplace vaccination policy to help protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.

Watch this Health Unit Video for more information.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your workplace from the risks of COVID-19. It is safe and highly effective at reducing virus spread and protecting against serious illness.

A workplace policy will help encourage more people to get vaccinated and allow people to feel more confident and safer in their return to work.

Workplaces can help encourage vaccination by creating a supportive environment that makes it easier for workers to get vaccinated, and by providing information from trusted sources.

During a recent media information session, HKPR Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Natalie Bocking encouraged local employers to implement a vaccination policy to support their employees getting vaccinated: Businesses and COVID-19 Safety Measures – YouTube

Establishing a Vaccination Policy for Your Workplace

Employers have an obligation to maintain a safe work environment for their workers. To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, a workplace vaccination policy is an important measure employers should implement to protect their workers and the public.

Assess your workplace risk of transmission by considering the following:

  • Does your workforce have a high vaccination rate?
  • Can workers keep at least two metres apart while performing their work?
  • Are workers required to be in close contact with others?
  • How long and how often are workers in close contact with other workers or patrons?
  • Does your workplace have physical barriers when workers cannot keep distance from each other, good ventilation and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers?
  • Do you have workers who may be at risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Some people may have reduced immunity due to age, pre-existing health conditions or medical treatments.
  • Is your workplace able to offer alternative work for people who require accommodation, for example remote work?

The workplace policy should adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act , the Ontario Human Rights Code   and privacy laws .

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.

Key Components in a Vaccination Policy

1. Identify the scope and purpose.

Explain purpose of the policy including the risks of COVID-19. Vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the best ways to protect workers. The Delta variant of the coronavirus is more contagious, with greater risk for severe illness and hospitalization.

Explain who the policy applies to. Will the policy apply to all workers, contractors, and/or agency staff? Is there a separate policy for customers?

Have a clear communication plan to inform workers about the policy.

2. List action steps workers must take.

When necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workplace policies should require workers to provide proof of vaccination, with vaccines approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization. Alternatively, workers may need to:

Indicate that they have a medical exemption, including if the reasons are temporary or permanent. The medical exemption should be written by a licenced doctor or nurse practitioner and does not need to include the reason for the exemption.

Complete a vaccination education course, with a signed declaration stating that they understand the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination. The vaccination education course should include information on:

  • How the COVID-19 vaccines work;
  • Vaccine safety related to the development of the COVID-19 vaccines;
  • The benefits of vaccination against COVID-19;
  • Risks of not being vaccinated against COVID-19; and
  • Possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.

3. Set deadlines for when the actions must be taken.

Specify a reasonable date when workers must demonstrate compliance with the workplace policy.

4. List available supports for vaccination.

Demonstrate your commitment to supporting workers to get vaccinated. Ways to support workers to get vaccinated include:

  • Providing vaccine information from credible sources or translated resources
  • Supporting vaccine champions to initiate conversations with their peers
  • Providing paid leave to get vaccinated
  • Reminding workers that they are entitled to up to three paid sick days, if they have side effects from the vaccine
  • Offering incentives such as gift cards, prizes or company swag
  • Hosting an on-site vaccination clinic

5. Provisions for Unvaccinated Workers

  • Your policy should list alternative options for workers who decline to get vaccinated for reasons protected by the Human Rights Act, or who are unable to complete their vaccination series for medical reasons. Some options to consider include:
  • Use of additional PPE, frequent COVID-19 testing, worker relocation, and modified work or reassignments.
  • In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers (who have only received one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series) are not be permitted to work in the outbreak area. Workers without vaccination records should be assumed to be unvaccinated.
  • If reassignment is not possible, consider if unvaccinated workers may use vacation or unpaid leave until it is safe for them to return to the workplace.

6. Non-Compliance

Outline the potential consequences for workers who do not fulfill the requirements of the policy.

7. Privacy considerations

The policy should specify how individual vaccination status of employees will be used by employers to mitigate the health-related risks of COVID-19.

Information about workers’ vaccination information must be protected in accordance with applicable privacy legislation. Knowing your workers’ vaccination status may be important to help you take appropriate action quickly, in the event of COVID-19 cases in your workplace, to protect employees, their families, and the general public.

When collecting information about a worker’s vaccination status:

  • Identify ways to safeguard workers’ personal health information.
  • Limit information collected to the worker’s name and date of vaccination for each dose.
  • Keep worker vaccination information separate from their personnel file.
  • Ensure personal health/vaccination information is kept in a secure manner and only used when required.

8. Staff contact

Identify who at your organization staff should contact with questions about the policy, to request accommodation, or for more information how to comply with the policy. The policy should also indicate the person to whom workers should provide proof of vaccination.

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