Advertisement

Ford supports rapid COVID-19 testing regime for unvaccinated health workers, won’t force policy on hospitals

Click to play video: 'Ontario Premier Ford encourages health-care workers to get vaccinated, but won’t make mandatory' Ontario Premier Ford encourages health-care workers to get vaccinated, but won’t make mandatory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday he would encourage health-care workers who still have not gotten vaccinated to do so, but said he would not force anyone to get their inoculation. Asked about one hospital system requiring staff to present a negative test if not vaccinated to work, Ford said he supports that policy, though would not dictate other hospitals to do the same. – Jul 26, 2021

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he supports a decision by the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto to mandate a rapid COVID-19 testing protocol for unvaccinated health workers, but stopped short of pushing other hospitals to implement the policy.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Monday, Ford said he’s in favour of a plan announced Friday from the UHN that will see staff at the network’s hospitals mandated to disclose their vaccination status.

Unvaccinated workers must then present a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test within 48 hours of their scheduled shift.

Read more: New University Health Network policy requires staff to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status

Speaking alongside Cameron Love, the CEO of The Ottawa Hospital, Ford said he would not push the same policy to other health-care networks across the province.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t dictate to the hospitals. They’re more than capable to run their own operations,” he said.

“I have all the confidence in the CEOs running them, they’ll make the right decision for their team members.”

Ford also came down against mandating vaccines for health workers, as governments in some parts of the world such as France have done.

Click to play video: 'Ontario Premier Ford says most protocols likely ‘gone’ once province moves past Step 3' Ontario Premier Ford says most protocols likely ‘gone’ once province moves past Step 3
Ontario Premier Ford says most protocols likely ‘gone’ once province moves past Step 3 – Jul 26, 2021

The UHN said last week that 85 per cent of its full-time staff are vaccinated; Love said Monday that vaccination rates among health workers at the Ottawa Hospital are around 90 per cent.

Instead, Ford encouraged staff at these workplaces to get the shot.

“I just don’t believe in forcing anyone to get a vaccination that doesn’t want it,” he said. “If you’re in the health-care industry, please just go and get a vaccination.”

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Ontario health worker groups want mandatory COVID-19 shots for health care workers

The UHN said last week that 85 per cent of its full-time staff are vaccinated; Love said Monday that vaccination rates among health workers at the Ottawa Hospital are around 90 per cent.

Ford was also asked whether teachers and school staff might be subject to similar testing requirements ahead of a return to the classroom in September.

He said Education Minister Stephen Lecce will be in talks with teachers’ unions about such protocols, but did not provide details about what the back-to-school framework will look like, only promising that a plan would come “very, very shortly.”

Ford was in the nation’s capital to announce $16.9 million in funding for The Ottawa Hospital on Monday, which marks a 2.2 per cent increase to the local health-care institution’s 2021 budget.

Love said the funding would help the hospital to manage its surgical backlog from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertisement

Sponsored content