172 Windsor, Ont., hospital staff suspended without pay for not getting COVID-19 shots

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Hospitals in the Windsor, Ont., area are mandating that staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide an exemption.  (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Hospitals in the Windsor, Ont., area are mandating that staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide an exemption. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

About 172 staff members at Windsor, Ont. hospitals have been suspended without pay for not getting their COVID-19 shots by the deadlines set out by their employers.

Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) both have policies mandating that as of Wednesday, Sept. 22, all staff and physicians must have at least one dose of the vaccine to continue working unless an approved exemption is provided.

WRH confirmed in a news release that 96 per cent of its employees are fully vaccinated, but as of Wednesday, 140 employees had not complied, with 84 of them considered clinical staff. The staff who have not complied are now also placed on a two-week unpaid leave.

An official at HDGH confirmed the hospital has a 96 per cent vaccination rate. However, as of Wednesday morning, 32 employees have been suspended without pay.

The CEO of WRH says the decision was made to put the safety and well-being of patients, the community and team members first.

"Our WRH team members responded by showing the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine," David Musyj said in a statement.

"The individuals who have not complied with the policy and decided not to be vaccinated will not impact the provision of clinical or non-clinical care to our community."

The suspended employees at HDGH have until Oct. 6 to get their first vaccinations. If they fail to do so, they will face "termination with cause," according to a representative.

Staff at WRH have until Oct. 7 to do the same or face termination, or have their privileges suspended.

All five Erie St Clair hospital organizations in southwestern Ontario — including Bluewater Heath in Sarnia, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington — agreed to the same policy.

However, each hospital set its own deadline on the vaccination policy.

At the time of this publication, no details were available about how many staff members at those locations have not complied.

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