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Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health strongly recommending workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies

HAMILTON, ON - Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, is strongly recommending that local employers address the need for a COVID-19 workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and their customers from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

These workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies should explain their purpose, specific actions employees must take, including providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or a medical exemption, and timelines. Workplace vaccination policies should require at minimum:

  • Employees to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Unvaccinated employees to present written proof of a medical reason from a primary care provider
  • Unvaccinated employees to complete an education course on the risks of being unvaccinated in the workplace

Recommendations on developing a workplace vaccination policy are available at Hamilton.ca/WorkPlaceVaccination. Further resources to support local businesses’ implementation of the recommendations will be made available online in the coming days and weeks.

Hamilton employers can also play a critical role in encouraging the importance of getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in a supportive environment through the following:

  • Sharing COVID-19 vaccine information from credible sources
  • Offering translated resources
  • Supporting vaccine champions to initiate conversations with their colleagues
  • Providing paid leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Reminding employees that they are legally entitled to up to three paid sick days if they experience side effects from the vaccine
  • Providing transportation options for employees to get their COVID-19 vaccine
  • Hosting a workplace vaccination clinic

There are many locations in Hamilton for community members born in 2009 and earlier to get their first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, such as a large-scale clinic, primary care-led clinics, mobile pop-up clinics, school-based clinics and local pharmacies. Vaccines can be accessed both on a walk-in basis at many of these locations or by booking an appointment. Information regarding walk-in options, booking an appointment and frequently asked questions are available at Hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.

Getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 does not replace the need for following effective and proven COVID-19 public health measures. Local employers must apply all COVID-19 prevention measures for their sector outlined in provincial guidelines and Hamilton Public Health Services’ guidance including, but not limited to: screening, physical distancing, wearing of masks and eye protection, hand hygiene, infection prevention and control, and a COVID-19 safety plan.

Quotes

“As we enter the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, every employer in our community must ensure their workplace is safe for their employees. A workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy is an effective tool for employers to protect their employees and all Hamiltonians from COVID-19 and the Delta variant. That’s why the City of Hamilton has moved forward with a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Policy for all city employees. Working together, we can increase vaccine coverage rates and stop the spread of the virus.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger

“I want to applaud those employers who are already leading the way with workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies. Everyone in Hamilton needs to do their part in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant to protect those who cannot be vaccinated – our children under the age of 12 and other vulnerable community members. Through their actions and policies, local employers can provide their customers with peace of mind that they are doing their part to protect their employees, their patrons and the broader community during this critical time in the pandemic.”

- Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health

Quick Facts

  • All Hamilton residents who have been vaccinated in Ontario against COVID-19, or who have provided proof of their vaccination to their local public health unit, can access proof of their vaccination through the Province’s vaccination portal. Frequently asked questions about getting your proof of vaccination receipt are available on hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.
  • Several local employers have already implemented workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies. On August 26, 2021 Hamilton City Council approved a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Policy for all employees, including full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, volunteers, Council members, members of Council-appointed committees and students.
  • If an employer in Hamilton is interested in hosting a workplace clinic, they can contact [email protected].   
  • Public health guidance demonstrates that vaccines provide a high level of protection against COVID-19 and its variants and reduces risk of severe illness and hospitalization.
  • It is vital that members of the public, even those who have been vaccinated, ensure that public health measures still be practiced until it is safe and said to be safe by the health professionals in all levels of government.  

Additional Resources