On April 13, 2021, Ontario announced that qualifying employers will soon be permitted to host on-site vaccination clinics under "Phase two" of the province's vaccination plan.
The province's announcement indicates that in order to qualify for this program, employers will need to meet the following minimum requirements:
- The workplace must be located within an identified "hot-spot community" and have had a previous COVID-19 outbreak or is at risk of an outbreak.
- The onsite clinic will vaccinate employees that cannot work at home, many of whom reside in hot-spot areas.
- The employer will also vaccinate those in the local community, either at the onsite clinic or an alternative location in consultation with the local public health unit.
- The employer will take on the responsibility of setting up, operating and funding the onsite vaccination clinic as well as the community clinics being sponsored if not onsite.
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At present, there is no official list of hot spot communities or regions within Ontario. The province has directed interested employers to consult with their local public health unit, or the Ministry of Health, to determine whether their workplace may qualify for an on-site vaccination program.
At this early stage, it is unclear whether and to what extent this program might interact with a qualifying employer's employment policies, insurance requirements, restructuring of physical spaces, etc. For instance, it is unclear whether the establishment of an authorized on-site vaccination clinic may lawfully permit an employer to establish a mandatory vaccination requirement for employees attending at the physical workplace, where members of the public will be present.
We anticipate that further details on eligibility and participation requirements will be forthcoming as the province establishes the necessary infrastructure to deploy this program. We will be actively tracking this issue over the coming weeks and months. Please stay tuned to our COVID-19 Insights for further details.
If you have any questions about the province's new on-site vaccination initiative, mandatory vaccination policies, or any other matters related to COVID-19 or employment law, the members of Gowling WLG's Employment, Labour & Equalities Group would be happy to discuss key concerns and the possible implications on your business.