Province to make vaccines mandatory in high-risk settings, pushes pause on Roadmap to Reopen while vaccination policies are drawn up

Ministry of Education to soon hand down mandatory vaccine policy for schools

The Ford Government has pushed pause on the Roadmap to Reopen so high-risk sectors can get vaccine policies in place.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced Tuesday he has issued a directive mandating hospitals and community care service providers to have COVID-19 policies in place for employees, staff, contractors, students, and volunteers. The directive also requires ambulance services to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for paramedics. These policies must be in place no later than September 7 and will require proof of one of three things: full vaccination against COVID-19, a documented medical reason for not being vaccinated, or completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session.

Those who do not provide proof of full vaccination will be required to undergo daily COVID-19 testing.

While Dr. Moore’s directive does not cover education settings, he did say on Tuesday the provincial government is planning on requiring vaccination policies for other sectors, including publicly-funded school boards and staff in licensed childcare settings. The province indicated it will soon require vaccine policies to be implemented in other sectors like post-secondary institutions, licensed retirement homes, women’s shelters, and other congregate care settings.

Moore said the province will pause the Roadmap to Reopen as these policies get drawn up. “We need to get the vaccination policies in place and our vaccination rates up,” he said during a Tuesday afternoon media briefing. “We need to be proactive to avoid the reactive closures that result in significant impacts in our on our mental, physical, social, and economic well-being. Every shot in arms is our best shot out of this.”