Ottawa Public Health (OPS) strongly recommends all Ottawa employers implement workplace vaccination policies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. To support employers, Ottawa Public Health today released guidance for how to develop and implement workplace vaccination policies as part of their COVID-19 safety planning.
Businesses and organizations have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for employees and volunteers. Supporting employees and volunteers to get fully vaccinated is the best way to help protect them from the risks of COVID-19, prevent outbreaks and build confidence in the workplace as we face a resurgence in our community driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
This new Guide on How to Create a Workplace Vaccination Policy for employers provides key considerations for the development and implementation of their own workplace vaccination policies. Ottawa Public Health has used a similar approach for its workplace vaccination policy.
When developing a workplace policy, to best protect workers and the community, employers should continuously assess the risk of transmission at the workplace by considering the following:
- Are workers required to be in close contact with others in their place of work or while performing their work duties?
- Can workers keep at least two metres apart while performing their work?
- How long and how often are workers in close contact with other workers or customers?
- Does your workplace have physical barriers when workers cannot keep distance from each other, good ventilation, and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks to protect workers or patrons?
- What is the size of your workforce and does your workforce have a high vaccination rate?
- Does the workplace have workers or clients who may be at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or unable to be vaccinated? Some people may have reduced immunity due to age, pre-existing health conditions or medical treatments.
- Is the workplace able to offer alternative work for people who require accommodation, for example remote work?
The guide does not provide legal advice and should not be relied on or treated as legal advice. Workplace vaccination policies should be in writing and adhere to any applicable occupational health safety laws, privacy laws, human rights laws, employment standards legislation, and or collective agreements. High-risk settings that are mandated by the Government of Ontario to have workplace vaccination policies in place must adhere to provincial requirements. Workplace vaccination policies do not need to be submitted to Ottawa Public Health.
Ottawa Public Health continues to work with the Ottawa business community to ensure employers and employees have access to information about the benefits of vaccination and where to get vaccinated. Employers are strongly encouraged to allow employees time off from work to access a COVID-19 vaccine. For further resources, visit Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Employers.
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