Oct 01, 2021
By Christine Ross
Ontario is making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all long-term care staff, support workers, students and volunteers by November 15th.
Though they’ve been eligible for vaccines for over a year, the province is only now mandating them.
“We have been making excellent progress to date and the vaccination rates for staff in half of long term care homes in Ontario is among the highest across the country,” said Long Term Care Minister Rod Phillips. “But as we looked at the data, it’s one of the reasons I asked for home by home data and you could see we were not going to get to the vaccination level we needed to get to.”
Those who are not vaccinated by then, won’t be able to enter a facility, but Phillips says the province cannot suspend or fire workers.
“The government of Ontario doesn’t directly employ staff who work in long term care homes because they work either for a municipality or a not-for-profit but what we are making clear is that those staff won’t be able to work in a long term care home, that’s where the risk is,” said Phillips.
Asked about making vaccines mandatory for teachers and all hospitals rather than testing, Phillips says he’ll follow the science.
Phillips calls it ‘unacceptable’ that 99 homes have staff vaccination rates of below 80% and one home under 40%.
For now, the new rule will not apply to visitors or essential caregivers.
The Ministry is now posting staff vaccination rates of individual homes online starting today.
As of yesterday, 64% of residents have already received a booster shot of the vaccine.