School board association calls on Ford government to make vaccines mandatory for staff and eligible students

Liberals and NDP support mandatory vaccination for the healthcare and education sector

The Ford government is being urged by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) to introduce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for schools “as quickly as possible.”

The request was made by OPSBA President Cathy Abraham in an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Friday.

“I am writing to request that your government act as quickly as possible to implement a policy and strategy to make vaccination mandatory in our schools,” Abraham said. “We support the growing number of medical professionals and public health experts calling for such a policy in the education sector. As I’m sure you’ll agree, ensuring that we provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff, and school communities is a top priority for all of us.”

The request came on the same day the federal government announced plans to make immunization mandatory for all federal civil servants. Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), which is chaired by Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, issued a statement on Friday that urged the province to establish a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system.

In her letter, Abraham said that the government must take “swift and decisive action” to ensure schools remain “as safe as possible” through the fourth wave of the pandemic.

She said that means making vaccination mandatory for all eligible students, staff and visitors.

“The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and our member boards stand ready to work with the Ministry of Education, public health officials, education sector stakeholders, and our school communities to ensure that the implementation of such a policy occurs as smoothly as possible,” her letter states.

The Liberals and NDP have already called for mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers and education workers.