News Release
August 20, 2021

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is strongly recommending local employers institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.

As part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Toronto Public Health is launching a workplace toolkit including guidance on developing a workplace vaccination policy. The policy should explain its purpose, specific actions workers must take including providing proof of vaccination status or a medical exemption, and timelines.

The resources launched today will also allow Toronto businesses to apply to host an on-site vaccination clinic. Toronto Public Health will follow-up with applicants to discuss eligibility for an onsite clinic.

Dr. de Villa and Toronto Public Health strongly recommend that workplace vaccination policies require at minimum:

  • Workers to provide proof of their vaccination series approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization
  • Unvaccinated employees to provide written proof of a medical reason from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes whether the reason is permanent or time-limited
  • Unvaccinated workers to complete a vaccination education course on the risks of being unvaccinated in the workplace

Employers should also identify how workers’ vaccination status information will be collected and protected in accordance with privacy legislation and explain the level of risk posed by COVID-19 in each unique workplace setting.

Additional workplace precautions recommended to help reduce virus spread include:

  • COVID-19 testing
  • Strict adherence to physical distancing and other public health measures
  • Wearing personal protective equipment
  • Ensuring that appropriate ventilation is in place

Dr. de Villa also strongly recommends that organizations determine a method for attendees of gatherings of 1,000 individuals or more to demonstrate proof of their vaccination status and to follow public health measures established under the Reopening Ontario Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.

Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced its vaccination policy for all City employees. The City’s policies goes above and beyond the Toronto Public Health’s recommendations and is a model for other workplaces to adopt.

Employers can play a critical role in promoting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine by:

  • Providing vaccine information from credible sources
  • Providing translated resources
  • Supporting vaccine champions to initiate conversations with their peers
  • Providing paid leave to get vaccinated
  • Reminding workers that they are legally entitled to up to three paid sick days if they have side effects from the vaccine
  • Offering incentives to get vaccinated
  • Hosting an on-site vaccination clinic

Employers can find more information and indicate an interest in hosting an on-site vaccination clinic through the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Information for Employers webpage.

Getting both doses of COVID-19 vaccine is the best defense against the virus, including the Delta variant. The City continues to work with all Team Toronto partners to make getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as easy as possible. This weekend all City-operated immunization clinics are offering first- and second-dose walk-in vaccinations to anyone born in 2009 or earlier from noon to 7 p.m. every day.

All residents who have been vaccinated in Ontario, or who have provided proof of their vaccination to their local public health unit, are able to access proof of their vaccination through the provincial vaccination system.


“All employers have a duty to make sure workplaces are safe for employees. That’s why the City of Toronto has implemented a mandatory requirement for staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I encourage all employers to follow the advice of public health officials and institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19. And I continue to urge all residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the progress we have made fighting the pandemic.”

– Mayor John Tory

“Vaccines are our best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. By instituting workplace vaccination policies, employers are taking action to protect their staff, their clients, and our city. We’re committed to doing whatever we can to support employers and break down barriers to vaccination, including bringing vaccines directly to where people are – including their workplaces.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health

“Supporting your employees to get vaccinated is the best way to help protect them from the risks of COVID-19, prevent outbreaks in workplace settings and build confidence for a safer return to work as we continue living with this virus in our community. This is why I’m strongly recommending that local employers establish a workplace vaccination policy to protect workers, their families and our communities.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations
Toronto Public Health