Read Dr. Hirji's COVID-19 recommendations for businesses / workplaces in Niagara.
The Delta variant is driving a fourth wave in Niagara. Evolving evidence around the Delta variant shows that it's more transmissible and has a higher likelihood of causing severe illness and outcomes in those infected. Since September, there have been several workplace outbreaks in Niagara, requiring many employees to isolate as high-risk contacts. A common denominator of workplace outbreaks has been low vaccination uptake by employees.
A COVID-19 vaccination policy can help keep your employees and customers / clients safe and your business open, along with workplace health and safety measures. Niagara Region Public Health recommends that local businesses create vaccination policies for their employees. This information is for:
Learn about establishing a vaccination policy for your workplace. Key components of a workplace vaccination policy include:
Get more details on the key components of a workplace vaccination policy.
Review the Ontario Human Rights Commission's statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates.
COVID-19 vaccination policies are already mandatory in certain high-risk settings. Please follow the relevant guidance for your organization:
The province requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access certain higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn.
Businesses and organizations are required to verify their customer or client's proof of vaccination through the Verify Ontario App or though visually verifying their vaccination receipt along with their personal identification. For more information, review proof of vaccination information for businesses and organizations.
A person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they've received:
Full vaccination has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting vaccinated individuals from severe consequences of COVID-19. A vaccination policy that increases vaccination coverage will keep employees and clients safe, and prevent isolation of employees so that businesses can stay open.
Proof of vaccination is considered any documentation issued by the Ontario Ministry of Health, other province or territory or international equivalent or a health care provider showing individual immunization status against the COVID-19 virus including the effective date.
The documentation from employees should include the following:
Yes. It's important to continue these measures to further control the spread of COVID-19. All workplace health and safety policies and directions including handwashing, physical distancing, wearing appropriate face coverings and personal protective equipment must be continued, regardless of vaccination status.
No, these exemptions are not the same.
In a setting that requires proof of vaccination, individuals with a medical exemption must provide a written document by a physician or nurse practitioner, stating they are exempt for one of the accepted medical reasons from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time-period. They also must show personal identification.
The Chambers of Commerce in Niagara (Greater Niagara, Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Port Colborne-Wainfleet, Welland / Pelham, Thorold and Niagara on the Lake) have partnered with the province of Ontario to provide rapid tests for free to interested workplaces in Niagara. Businesses can go through their local Chambers of Commerce to book and pick up tests.
See examples of acceptable forms of ID. Photo identification is not required.
The provincial requirements regarding proof of vaccination only applies to customers or clients dining indoors, not those working at a restaurant.
It's recommended that individual employers and organizations create their own internal vaccination policy for their staff. For more information, review new requirements for proof of vaccination in certain settings.