Carleton University makes COVID-19 vaccine mandatory to live in residence

Ottawa's Carleton University is the latest post-secondary institution to require students to be fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine for certain activities.

Also required to represent school in sports, some music instruction

The Dunton Tower rises over Carleton University, which will require students living in residence be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

Ottawa's Carleton University is the latest post-secondary institution to require students to be fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine for certain activities.

Vaccines will be required to live in residence, represent the school in athletics, and for some music instruction like private lessons, ensemble participation and for performances or rehearsals, according to the university update tweeted Thursday afternoon. Theory and history classes related to music do not require proof of vaccination, clarified a university spokesperson.

CBC News also obtained a memo sent to staff on Thursday that said it's acting upon the advice of Ottawa Public Health in requiring students have a first dose by Sept. 10 and be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.

The university does count students who have had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine as fully vaccinated, same for students who have had both doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

However, students who have one dose of either of those latter two vaccines, or any other vaccine not approved by Health Canada, have to be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada-approved vaccine by Oct. 15.

'A lot of unknowns'

Callie Ogden, vice-president of community engagement at the Carleton University Students' Association, said it's a relief the university released a policy on vaccines in residence.

"I've had a lot of students come to me with the concern that residence wasn't taking enough steps in order to protect and ensure the safety of our students," said Ogden.

Questions remain around what campus will look like outside residences, especially as the university moves to a hybrid model with some classes online and others in person.

Ogden questions how buildings will be cleaned or how students will be able to socially distance in classes or other common areas.

"There's just a lot of unknowns and a lot of students just haven't been able to plan because they don't know what they're walking into, because we haven't been told what's going on," she said.

Face eviction from residence

Carleton said it's also planning on-campus vaccination clinics, while students can request an exemption under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

If students choose not to be vaccinated and don't get an exemption, the school said they will have their residence contract terminated, be forced to leave, and "will be held financially liable as per the Residence Agreement."

The memo to staff said all faculty, staff and students will also have to self-declare their vaccination status as yes, no or "prefer not to say."

If people don't choose yes, they will be given information about vaccines, including options to get one, and also public health advice.

The school said the vaccine rules are on top of existing rules around masking, distancing and cleaning.

Both the University of Ottawa and Queen's University have similar policies in place for students living in residence.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that all music classes will require vaccination. In fact, only some music instruction, like performances and private lessons, will require vaccination.
    Aug 06, 2021 6:00 PM ET

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