Last updated: January 21, 2021 at 6:20 p.m.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is strongly recommending local employers institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19. See information on establishing a vaccination policy for your workplace and hosting an on-site vaccination clinic.
Promoting vaccine uptake is important to help reduce COVID-19 workplace outbreaks and build confidence for a safer return to work. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your workplace from the risks of COVID-19. It is safe and highly effective at reducing virus spread and protecting against serious illness.
Workplaces can help encourage vaccination by creating a supportive environment that makes it easier for workers to get vaccinated, and by providing information from trusted sources. COVID-19 vaccination provides an important layer of protection for workers, their families and the community.
Toronto Public Health is seeking feedback on the resources found on this page to help inform future COVID-19 resource development for workplaces. If you would like to provide feedback, please complete a short survey.
Employers can encourage employees to get vaccinated and support increased vaccination uptake with a few simple steps:
Many people want to get vaccinated however they may not have the opportunity or the time to get their COVID-19 vaccines. For example, people may not live or work close to a clinic, or they may be concerned about side effects or unsure how to get vaccinated without a health card.
Some workplaces may be subject to mandatory vaccination policies under the Ministry of Health’s Directive #6 or employers’ occupational health requirements supported by Ministry guidance. These settings include long-term care and retirement homes, and some hospitals.
For more information on mandatory vaccination policies now in effect:
If your workplace and employees do not require a mandatory vaccination policy under current Ministry guidance, you are still recommended to establish a vaccination policy to clearly inform workers of expectations and maintain a safe work environment.
Employers have an obligation to maintain a safe work environment for their workers. To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, it is recommended that employers implement a workplace vaccination policy to protect their workers and the public.
Assess your workplace risk of transmission by considering the following:
Please note: the information provided on this webpage does not contain legal advice and should not be relied on or treated as legal advice; those for whom these recommendations are intended may seek their own legal advice for their specific circumstance.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, workplace policies should require workers to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, workers should be required to:
Workers may request an exemption based on the Ontario Human Rights Code. Read the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Questions and Answers summary to learn more about an individual’s human rights and their obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal consultation is recommended for any institutions seeking to establish an exemption policy in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Specify a reasonable date when workers must demonstrate compliance with the workplace policy.
Demonstrate your commitment to supporting workers to get vaccinated. Ways to support workers to get vaccinated include:
Your policy should list alternative options for workers who decline to get vaccinated for reasons protected by the Human Rights Act, or who are unable to complete their vaccination series for medical reasons. Some options to consider include:
The policy should specify how individual vaccination status of employees will be used by employers to mitigate the health-related risks of COVID-19. Knowing your workers’ vaccination status may be important to help you take appropriate action quickly, in the event of COVID-19 cases in your workplace, to protect employees, their families, and the general public.
Employers collecting proof of vaccination must comply with applicable privacy legislation that governs the need to keep personal information/health information confidential and secure. Employers are encouraged to seek legal advice regarding the privacy obligations that apply to their particular workplace.
When collecting information about a worker’s vaccination status:
See information on how employees can get their vaccination receipt.
While strongly encouraged, these recommendations are voluntary, and are not intended to be legally enforceable under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
Employers interested in hosting an on-site vaccination clinic are invited to complete a short survey to register for an initial assessment call. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Please only complete the survey if:
Ontario workers may qualify for up to three days of paid sick leave under provincial legislation. The pay is at regular wages, up to $200 per day. Workers may take time off work to get vaccinated or if they have side effects from the vaccine. However, the three days are not in addition to existing paid sick days, if offered by the employer.
Employers may apply for reimbursement from the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) for payment made under this sick leave program. The program is currently retroactive to April 19, 2021 and has been extended to July 31, 2022.
Workplace policies should require workers who do not provide proof of vaccination to complete a vaccination education module with a signed declaration that they understand the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination. Employers can use Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination: Understanding the Benefits and Risks module for this purpose.
Workplace vaccination policies and getting vaccinated are important tools to help protect your workplace. COVID-19 prevention and control measures are still required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After vaccination, continue to follow public health measures outlined in Toronto Public Health’s guidance for employers, businesses and workplaces to help keep your workplace safe.
Continue to screen employees daily using the staff screening questionnaire for COVID-19 symptoms, even after they have been vaccinated. If they have symptoms, ask them to stay home and self-isolate. Vaccination can prevent severe illness from COVID-19, however people can still spread the virus to others.
If an employee is fully vaccinated and then exposed to someone outside their household who tests positive, they may not need to self-isolate if they do not have symptoms. If they are fully vaccinated and have symptoms, they must self-isolate immediately. See What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms