The following message was distributed to all Conestoga employees on September 22 on behalf of Dean Bulloch, Associate Vice President, Human Resources.
Conestoga has a legal obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe working environment for faculty and staff. Establishing a workplace vaccination policy is a key action that employers can take to keep all staff safe.
Our COVID Community Safety Policy, effective September 7, 2021, is consistent with provincial regulations, public health and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and sets the requirements for all Conestoga employees, students, volunteers, contractors, and visitors accessing campus, to continue to protect the health and safety of our college community from the spread of COVID-19.
Providing proof of vaccination status is consistent with the recent recommendation to all Ontario postsecondary institutions by the Council of Medical Officers of Health and is an important step in our shared responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19.
All individuals will be required to complete the following by October 15, 2021:
- Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19; or
- Proof of a medical reason, provided by a physician, that sets out a documented legitimate medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as the effective time period for the medical reason.
This policy will be enforced immediately for individuals in some services and program areas, including:
- Students living in Conestoga College Student Residence
- Athletes participating in Varsity sports programs
- Students and employees in specific academic programs and specialized services that require vaccination.
Any employees who are required to complete requirements prior to October 15 will be contacted directly by the college and informed of their mandatory compliance date. Conestoga may add to the list of specialized services at any time based on changing conditions and circumstances. For all other individuals the date for enforcement is January 2, 2022.
Why October 15, 2021?
Submit your proof of vaccination or start the process for an exemption by October 15, 2021. Employees who do not submit proof of their vaccination status or who have not requested an exemption by the due date will be contacted by Human Resources.
- There are two acceptable medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination. The first is a severe allergic reaction to any of the components confirmed by an allergist or immunologist. The second is inflammation to the heart, also known as myocarditis or pericarditis.
- With respect to Creed-based requests, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has noted on its FAQ page that “a singular belief or personal preference against vaccinations or masks does not appear to be protected on the ground of creed under the Code.” Secular, socially based, or conscientiously held beliefs are not protected under the Code and will not be approved as an exemption to the College’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
All exemption requests are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. If you are advised that you do not qualify for an exemption, you can return to campus after obtaining your COVID-19 vaccines and providing proof of vaccination in accordance with the policy.
Employees who fail to comply with the COVID Community Safety Policy will be placed on a leave of absence without pay, effective January 2, 2022.
Conestoga strongly encourages all employees to get vaccinated. Vaccines are a proven and effective public health measure to stop the spread and severity of COVID-19, including the Delta variant.
Please take some time to review the Frequently Asked Questions.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to ensure a safe working environment for all.
COVID-19 Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proof of Vaccination Questions: Vaccinequestions@conestogac.on.ca