September 1, 2021Dear staff, physicians and learners,It is now very clear how crucial vaccinations are in stopping the surge of COVID-19 cases we are seeing. Many of our peer hospitals, public organizations and major businesses are taking steps to protect their workforces and the people they serve. With schools opening next week, it is imperative that every step possible is taken so we don’t lose the positive gains we’ve achieved together. This includes all of us being fully vaccinated.Vaccinations benefit everyone. It reduces your chances of contracting COVID-19 and keeps you from getting seriously ill even if you do get the virus. Once you have had two doses and two weeks have passed, you are 80-90 per cent less likely to get infected with the virus. We all have a duty to keep our patients, colleagues, and community safe, and vaccinations are an important way to accomplish this.I recognize that some of you may still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and information you may have heard along the way about the science supporting vaccination. I strongly urge anyone who has questions to please take the time to speak to one of our experts who can connect with you privately for a conversation. Click here to access our ‘Ask An Expert’ program. The vaccines that are approved in Canada have been tested in extensive clinical trials and proven safe for individuals who do not meet certain exclusion criteria.At Unity Health, we have a large vulnerable patient population that includes babies and children who can’t be vaccinated, and transplant, cancer and elderly patients who may be at greater risk of health complications, hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19. Vaccines protect those who can’t protect themselves.These are the reasons why we are taking the necessary measures to create the safest environments possible by implementing a new required COVID-19 vaccination policy. This means staff, physicians, volunteers, learners and regular contractors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of those who have an approved medical exemption or human rights accommodation. All new hires also need to provide proof of vaccination before starting at Unity Health.Aligned to the Ministry of Health’s Directive #6, we’ve designed this in a phased approach with the goal of achieving 100 per cent vaccination rate across Unity Health:· Starting September 7, staff and physicians who haven’t submitted COVID-19 vaccine receipts to Corporate/Occupational Health must show proof of full vaccination or undergo required testing onsite twice per 7-day period. Throughout September, there will be support for employees who we do not have a record of vaccination to have one-on-one conversations with their manager.· As of October 4, our requirement for all persons to be vaccinated will come into effect. This is the deadline for staff and physicians to submit evidence that they have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or they will be placed on a temporary unpaid leave of absence or suspension of privileges.· By November 4, any staff and physicians who had previously provided evidence of only a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, must submit evidence of having received their second dose or they will be placed on a temporary unpaid leave of absence or suspension of privileges.· Processes are being put in place to ensure compliance for students, volunteers and contracted workers.For more information about the new required COVID-19 vaccination policy please visit the COVID-19 microsite. We will be looking at how this policy applies to visitors and essential care partners and will share more details about this in the coming weeks.If you haven’t been fully vaccinated yet, please book a vaccination appointment:· With your site’s Corporate/Occupational Health department by clicking here· Walk-ins are welcome ato St. Michael’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic starting today until September 10, Monday to Friday from 8AM to 12PM and 1PM to 3:30PM (closed Monday, September 6 for Labour Day)o St. Joseph’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic starting September 3 until September 10, Monday to Friday from 8AM to 12PM and 1PM to 3:30PM (closed Monday, September 6 for Labour Day)· Please send your vaccination receipts to [email protected]
to or bring a printed copy to your site’s Corporate/Occupational Health department.We understand there may be exemptions for rare medical reasons and ask that you follow up with Corporate/Occupational Health to provide documentation from your physician or registered nurse. Those with medical exemptions will not be required to take a leave of absence, but will be required to continue with regular mandatory testing.We’ve come a long way together, and I am so grateful for the personal commitment I saw every day these past difficult 18 months, and that I continue to see. The strength of Unity Health is our people, our values, and our steadfast commitment to excellent and safe care for our patients, particularly those who are most vulnerable.This is also about our commitment to each other. We will only beat COVID-19 when the majority of people get vaccinated. As health care providers, we need to show leadership in the communities we serve. So Team Unity Health, let’s get to 100 per cent together!
Many thanks for doing your part.
Sincerely,TimPresident and CEO
Unity Health Toronto