Ontario long-term care homes call for mandatory vaccines for all health-care workers

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TORONTO — Ontario long-term care homes are asking the province to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for their staff as well as health-care workers in all settings.

The Ontario Long-Term Care Association says making vaccines mandatory provincewide would both protect residents and ensure facilities don’t lose their staff to other health-care facilities.

The province requires staff in long-term care homes to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status, and those who are unvaccinated for non-medical reasons have to undergo education about the importance of immunization.

But Premier Doug Ford has refused to mandate vaccines in any setting.

He has spoken in support of a Toronto hospital network’s policy that unvaccinated staff — and those won’t disclose their vaccination status — have to take a COVID-19 test before coming to work.

The long-term care association’s call to make vaccines mandatory for health workers echoes recommendations from the Ontario Medical Association and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.