Sudbury

Northeastern Ontario hospitals cracking down on unvaccinated workers

Some hospital workers in northeastern Ontario have been sent home without pay and more than 100 others are facing possible discipline.

Some hospitals giving employees until the end of October to show proof of vaccination

More than 100 hospital workers in northeastern Ontario are facing discipline for not following the new rules around COVID-19 vaccination. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

Some hospital workers in northeastern Ontario have been sent home without pay and more than 100 others are facing possible discipline.

This is under a new provincial directive to make sure those who work, volunteer and learn in hospitals are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The rules are little different in each of the big four hospitals in the northeast. 

But in general, all workers and volunteers have to show proof they've had two COVID shots or have a medical or religious exemption. 

If they don't, they must attend a vaccine education session and submit to regular COVID testing.

At Health Sciences North in Sudbury and the Sault Area Hospital those tests are required twice per week, at North Bay Regional Health Cente it's once a week.

Health Sciences North in Sudbury says it will have 'conversations' with about 70 employees, volunteers and health students who did not submit COVID test results this week. (Erik White/CBC)

Sault Area Hospital says a handful of employees have been put on unpaid leave after not following the rules. It wouldn't release exact numbers, but say it's less than 0.1 per cent of the workforce, while 95 per cent are fully vaccinated.

In North Bay, some 40 hospital workers have broken the new vaccination policy and "could progress to dismissal as early as this week."

Health Sciences North in Sudbury says 70 people who have not provided proof of vaccination, haven't turned in their test results either.

The hospital says "conversations" will be had with them in the coming days and they "could eventually be deemed unfit for work and suspended without pay." 

Health Sciences North says 92 per cent of its workers are fully vaccinated, 2 per cent have received one shot, 5 per cent declined vaccination and 0.2 per cent have provided proof of a medical exemption. 

Timmins and District Hospital says six per cent of its employees have not yet been fully vaccinated, and have until Oct. 29 to get the two shots. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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