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COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Support Package for Employers

Employers play an important role in building vaccine confidence among employees in the workplace. Vaccination increases a person’s ability to fight infection if they are exposed to a specific virus – in this case, COVID-19. If you have employees that have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccine, giving employees the opportunity to share their concern about vaccines can help increase vaccine literacy, identify barriers to vaccination, and help employees know what to expect before and after getting their vaccine.

This WECHU has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Support Package for Employers to provide guidance on how to establish a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, including a sample policy and procedure.


  • Lead by Example – Get your own vaccine, speak with your employees about your experience, and encourage them to follow your lead. This could instill trust and help build confidence amongst your team. In addition, consult with your legal representation regarding how best to implement a vaccination policy at your workplace.
  • Communicate clearly – Create a plan to share credible information about COVID-19 vaccines. Use webinars, COVID-19 fact sheets, email newsletters, stickers, posters, etc.
  • Identify Workplace Vaccine Champions – Encourage influential workers and leaders at the workplace to be vaccine champions and ensure that they reflect the diversity of the workforce.
  • Offer time - Consider offering time off for your employees to get their vaccine. When possible, offer flexible sick leave options for employees experiencing side effects after vaccination.
  • Make it Easy:
    • Consider staggering employee shifts to account for time off taken to get vaccinated and avoid worker shortages.
    • Help your employees to book their appointment or to locate a clinic near them for a walk-up appointment and post information about nearby vaccination clinics in common areas.

Educational resources on COVID-19 vaccines have been created to provide credible information and education to employees wanting to be exempt from a vaccine policy.

Resources:

Videos:

eLearning Modules:

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccinations

Yes, employees can return to work if they screen positive for the following symptoms within 48 hours after receiving their vaccine, if these symptoms are mild, only began after vaccination, and the employee feels well enough to work:

  • Headache, fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain

If employees have any of the following symptoms, they should NOT report to work, self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Any respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, runny or congested nose, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of taste or smell)
  • Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Falling down often

Employers may be able to require proof of vaccination to ensure fitness to safely perform work or protect others, but must be clear why proof of vaccination is needed and ensure informed consent is received in order to receive this information.  Employees who choose not be vaccinated may be reassigned/ accommodated to other areas of work if deemed necessary to do so. For more information, visit this website on COVID-19 and the Human Rights Code.

  • Even after employees have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, employers are required to continue to screen employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. If they have symptoms, they should get tested and isolate while awaiting results. Vaccination can prevent severe illness from COVID-19, but people can still spread the virus to others (especially those that have not yet been vaccinated).
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated or have been previously positive within the last 90 days who have had a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 should report their exposure to their employer and follow any restrictions from work, as specified by their manager and/or Occupational Health department. They should also take the following precautions for 10 days after the exposure:
    • self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate immediately if symptoms develop.
    • wear a mask and maintain physical distancing when outside of the home to reduce the risk of transmission to others in the event they become a case;
  • See our webpage for more information.
  • Workplaces may implement policies and procedures for fully vaccinated or unvaccinated employees that are more restrictive than the aforementioned policies.
  • Please note that the WECHU case and contact management may provide different guidance to any individual based on their exposure history, context of interactions, and symptom onset.

E-mail vaccine@wechu.org to request a mobile vaccination clinic for a mobile team to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-site. WECHU will assist in the planning and promotion of the clinic, and help answer employee questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

There are several different ways to access vaccine appointments in Windsor-Essex County:

For any individuals that may experience difficulty attending their COVID-19 vaccination appointment due to a lack of transportation, childcare services, or other accessibility concerns, there are a variety of local supports available. Visit our website to learn more.

Anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible to book their first dose and second dose appointments. For more information, visit WECHU’s COVID-19 Vaccine Booking and Eligibility page.


Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act

Effective September 22, 2021, patrons seeking access to certain areas of a business or organization must show proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can enter the area.

Download WECHU Poster: “You Must be Fully Vaccinated to Enter” for businesses and organizations required to check for proof of vaccination.

For a list of these locations and for guidance on how to implement this requirement, please review:

Please note that per the Letter of Instruction issued on September 27, 2021, all owners, operators and persons responsible for facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities located in Windsor-Essex County Health Unit service area will be required to adopt the additional instructions regarding proof of vaccination requirements.

In Ontario, an individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines,
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
  • They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
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