Medical Officer of Health Recommendations for Workplace COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Posted on Wednesday September 01, 2021

The following letter has been provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. For more information regarding the below matters, please contact SMDHU directly. 

To all Employers within Simcoe Muskoka:

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very difficult period, and now with the onset of the fourth wave and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID-19, we need to increase our efforts to protect people, including in the workplace. Certainly, our organizations, agencies and businesses in Simcoe Muskoka have worked hard to this end, putting in place the control measures required by the province and by my original letter of instruction, dated March 11, 2021. I congratulate you on this outstanding effort and I thank you for it.

At this important time, there is a need to continue and further strengthen our workplace prevention measures, and as such, I have reissued my letter of instruction, dated September 1, 2021. Along with these control measures, vaccination against COVID-19 represents the most powerful tool to protect your workplace from the risks of COVID-19. It is highly effective at reducing virus spread and protecting against serious illness. As of today, 82% of eligible individuals (age 12+) in Simcoe Muskoka have been vaccinated with one dose, and 74% with both doses. We must continue to strive to have as many people as possible receive their vaccination if we are to better control transmission, including in the workplace, ultimately reaching the goal of at least 90% full immunization coverage.

As the Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, I am writing to strongly recommend that all local employers institute and ensure compliance with a workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy for their business or organization. This is to help safeguard their work environment and to help us achieve higher overall vaccination in the population.

The considerations and components that I recommend all local employers to include in their COVID-19 vaccination policy are outlined in the attached SMDHU Recommendations for Workplace COVID-19 Vaccination Policies (also available on our website). Another helpful resource is the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directive 6, pursuant to the Health Protection and Promotion Act, in respect of public hospitals and certain other health care service providers.

Our own Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit COVID-19 vaccination policy for our staff is close to being finalized. We will post and communicate it publicly once it is completed.

By establishing a COVID-19 vaccination policy, along with continuing to implement all other public health measures as outlined in my amended letter of instruction, employers will help to protect their workers and their clients from COVID-19 and contribute to the overall control of the pandemic in Simcoe Muskoka. Your leadership in this is of critical importance and I thank you.

Sincerely,

ORIGINAL Signed By:

Charles Gardner, MD, CCFP, MHSc, FRCPC Medical Officer of Health