Toronto's University Health Network says staff who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be fired if they don't get fully immunized by Oct. 22.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the network says it is asking its more than 900 staff members who have not indicated their vaccination status or have not been immunized to get their first shot by Sept. 8, allowing them to get their second shot by Oct. 8. It normally takes two weeks for a person getting a COVID-19 shot to be fully immune to the novel coronavirus.
After that, staff members who are not vaccinated will be placed on unpaid leave for two weeks, UHN said. After the end of that period, if staff are still not immunized, "their employment at UHN will end," spokesperson Gillian Howard said.
"We will work with anyone in the group to answer questions, give additional information about the vaccine and we very much hope that, as people working in health care who are committed to their patients and colleagues, that they will comply with the policy," she said.
UHN, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto, includes Toronto General Hospital, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.
UHN policy before last Tuesday had employees testing at home and reporting three times a week. This week, it has moved forward with its new vaccination policy requiring all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
"We are doing everything possible to protect our patients and the people who care for them," Howard said.
"The delta variant is extremely contagious and we are seeing the cases increase so we are doing everything we can to keep patients and employees as safe as possible."