Ontario Issues Directive #6 Mandating Covid-19 Vaccination Policies in High Risk Settings
On August 17, 2021, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a new directive mandating all high-risk settings to have a COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect no later than September 7, 2021. This includes all employees, staff, contractors, students and volunteers in hospitals, home and community care settings and ambulatory services. This policy will require these individuals to provide proof of one of these three things:
- Full vaccination against COVID-19;
- A medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19; or
- Completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session.
These high-risk settings will be required to track and report the implementation of their policies to the provincial government including the number of individuals in each of the three categories listed above. This statistical information may be made public.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated can prove this by showing the physical or emailed receipt that was provided to them at the time of vaccination. Vaccination receipts can also be downloaded or printed through the provincial portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undertake regular antigen testing and demonstrate continued negative testing results verified by their employer. These organizations can access free antigen point of care tests through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program.
View Directive #6 Details
Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists working in Ontario hospitals, home and community care settings and ambulatory care will be subject to their organizational vaccination policies required by Directive #6. This Directive is intended to provide security for patients, clients, families and other health care workers.
It is expected that public and private schools, as well as licensed childcare settings will eventually be required to have their own vaccination disclosure policy, with rapid antigen testing requirements for staff who are not immunized against COVID-19. The Ministry of Education is working with schools and public health units to run voluntary vaccination clinics in or nearby schools to make vaccines more accessible and convenient for those eligible.
Additional vaccination policies will be implemented in other higher-risk settings such as:
- Post-secondary institutions
- Licensed retirement homes
- Women’s shelters
- Congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities
- Children’s treatment centres and other services for children with special needs
- Licensed children’s residential settings
Occupational therapists working in these environments should monitor policy development and prepare to meet new requirements.