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COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

Topic: Employees, Employment and Workplace, Faculty, Staff, Students: Conduct and Responsibilities
Approval Authority: President and Vice-Chancellor
Approval Date: Enacted September 1, 2021, and effective September 7, 2021. Amended September 27, 2021. Amended October 25, 2021.
Effective Date: September 7, 2021; Amendment effective October 25, 2021

Preamble

Throughout the pandemic, York has prioritized the health and safety of University Community Members and those of our neighboring communities in our planning and actions.  The COVID-19 landscape is evolving as emerging variants of concern and rising infection rates in the province mark the beginning of the 2021 to 2022 academic year.  The post-secondary sector has received a strong recommendation from the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health (COMOH)  to require mandatory vaccination for all Persons seeking Access to campus or to otherwise participate in In-person activities.  This Policy conforms to the COMOH recommendation and aligns with the Instructions issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario and the Postsecondary Education Health Measures Framework for Fall 2021 published on August 31 by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities of Ontario.

The strong recommendations from COMOH align with endorsements from Toronto Public Health for post-secondary institutions to consider “policy measures to optimize vaccination coverage rates” among University Community Members.

The recommendations of public health authorities are necessary to maintain a safe and healthy work and learning environment.   As recognized by key national, provincial, and municipal public health leaders, vaccination is the most powerful tool we must protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19.

All Persons eligible for vaccination (as of this date all individuals 12 years and over with the exception of those as laid out in the Policy) who seek Access to campus or to otherwise participate in In-person activities must provide Proof of vaccination against COVID-19.  University Community Members who can provide proof of a substantiated medical reason or other protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be exempt and accommodated in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. As all staff, faculty and instructors are expected to be available to come to campus at any time, York requires that they disclose their vaccination status by applicable deadlines in 4.1 through YU Screen.

York’s mandatory vaccination requirements are in addition to existing and future health and safety measures that must be observed on York’s campuses.

1. Purpose

1.1 To take reasonable precautions to protect and keep safe students, faculty, instructors, staff, volunteers and Guests at York by adopting measures to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus and the occurrence of COVID-19.

1.2 To define and prescribe a COVID-19 vaccination mandate at York and alternate requirements for University Community Members who are Unvaccinated due to a substantiated medical or other human rights exemption.

1.3 Inform all Persons of their rights and responsibilities regarding the York University COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

2. Authority, Scope and Application

2.1 This Policy is enacted by the President of York University under the authority of subsection 13 (2) b) of the York University Act (1965).

2.2 This Policy applies to Persons aged 12 years or older who seek Access to Campus for the purpose of work, study, research, athletics, living in University-operated undergraduate student residence, performance of contracts (see further information in 4.8), access to - or provision of - services, or Persons who otherwise seek to participate in In-person activities.

3. Definitions

In this policy,

Access to campus” means attending on a campus in person for work, study, research, athletics, living in University-operated undergraduate student residence, performance of contracts or access to - or provision of – services.  For students this includes registration in a course for which the calendar description includes any required In-person component such as in-class teaching, in-person tutorials, in-person laboratory work, etc.

Campus” means all facilities operated and controlled by York in the Province of Ontario, including buildings, instructional spaces, and University-operated undergraduate student residences. Spaces not operated or controlled by York, including spaces on York’s campuses under the control of a third party, are excluded from this definition of Campus.

Contractor” means an individual or business that works or operates on Campus under contract with York.

Coronavirus” means the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus as officially named by the WHO in the International Classification of Diseases[1].

COVID-19” means the disease caused by the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 test” means a COVID-19 test recognized by the Government of Ontario or the Government of Canada.

Fully Vaccinated” an individual is considered Fully Vaccinated 14 days after receiving:

  • the completed series of a vaccine or any combination of vaccines approved by Health Canada; or
  • a completed series of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada followed by one dose of an mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada; or
  • three doses of a non-Health Canada approved vaccine

Given the changing nature of the pandemic, if the applicable public health authorities announce a different meaning of “Fully Vaccinated”, that definition will take precedence.

Guest” means an individual aged 12 years and older who is not a University Community Member who has been invited by York to attend on Campus or to participate in In-person activities.

In-person activities” means University-organized or University-sanctioned activities occurring in person on-Campus or off-Campus

Person” means a University Community Member, Contractor, or Guest.

Proof of vaccination” means a vaccination record, receipt, or certificate of vaccination against COVID-19.

University Community Member” means all students, staff, faculty, instructors,  volunteers, and members of a governing body of York University.

Unvaccinated” means a person who

a. has confirmed to York their vaccination status that indicates they are not Fully Vaccinated, or

b. has been exempted under section 5, or

c. has not confirmed to York their Vaccination status nor submitted Proof of Vaccination by the applicable deadline in 4.1.1

Vaccination status” means being either Vaccinated, Partially vaccinated, or Unvaccinated.

York” means York University and its affiliates.

4. Vaccination Mandate

Effective October 19, 2021 no Person will be permitted Access to campus or to otherwise participate in In-person activities unless they:

(a) Have provided to York Proof of vaccination; or

(b) Have been granted an exemption or accommodation by York or are awaiting a decision from York with respect to an exemption or accommodation request pursuant to section 5 of this Policy; and are complying with any additional requirements under section 5.2.

4.1 OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE VACCINATION STATUS

4.1.1 University Community Members must disclose their Vaccination status to York as follows:

4.1.1.1 For the Fall 2021 Term

(a) York staff, faculty, and instructors must disclose their Vaccination status as directed by York[2] whether they seek Access to campus or not,

(b) York students who seek Access to campus or to otherwise participate in York University In-person activities either on-Campus or off-Campus must disclose their vaccination status as directed by York[3].

4.1.1.2 For the Winter 2022 Term and for all subsequent terms:

(a) York staff, faculty and instructors must disclose their Vaccination status, whether they seek Access to campus or not, if they have not previously disclosed under 4.1.1.1 (a).

(b) Students, whether they seek Access to campus or not, must disclose as follows:

(i) In advance of each Fall Term, no later than July 1.

(ii) In advance of each Winter Term, no later than November 8.

(iii) In advance of each Summer Term, no later than April 1.

4.1.2 For all terms, guests, volunteers or members of governing bodies who seek Access to campus or otherwise participate in In-person activities must disclose their Vaccination status prior to Access to campus.

4.2 OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION

4.2.1 All University Community Members must either provide Proof of vaccination or seek an exemption pursuant 5.1 as follows:

(a) All current faculty, staff, and instructors must provide Proof of vaccination or exemption as directed by York.

(b) Prospective staff, faculty or instructors must provide Proof of vaccination or have sought exemption at least two weeks prior to the effective start date of employment. York will continue to work with any staff, faculty or instructors without access to vaccines prior to their effective start date.

(c) Students who seek Access to campus must provide Proof of vaccination or have sought exemption prior to accessing campus. Therefore, students registering in a course for which the Calendar description includes any required In-person activity component, must provide Proof of vaccination or have requested an exemption as follows:

(i) In advance of each of the Winter Terms, by December 1

(ii) In advance of each of the Summer Terms, by May 1

(iii) In advance of each of the Fall Terms, by August 1

(d) Students who reside in a country other than Canada where they do not have ready access to a vaccine and who seek Access to campus for the Winter 2022 Term or any subsequent term, should contact the University before the respective deadline to discuss possible arrangements until such time as they can provide Proof of vaccination. They must also conform to requirements under 5.2 until they have provided Proof of vaccination.

4.2.2 A Guest may be granted Access to campus providing they

(a) are invited by York to participate in In-person activities, and

(b) provide Proof of vaccination, or

(c) in specific cases authorized by York, conform to requirements under 5.2.

4.2.3 This Policy does not apply to a Contractor that

(a) controls or operates a space on Campus not accessible by University Community Members, other than a York staff who may access the space to assess or assist performance of a contract; and

(b) implements a COVID-19 vaccination policy and appropriate health and safety requirements.

Where a Contractor does not implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy and     appropriate health and safety requirements, the Contractor must comply with this Policy and ensure that they and their employees are Fully Vaccinated prior to Access to campus.

Where a Contractor or its employees access a space on Campus that it does not control or operate, that Contractor and its employees are subject to this Policy.

4.3 GENERAL PROVISIONS

4.3.1 York provides support and access to vaccine clinics (as available) to encourage the uptake of vaccines.  A University Community Member may wish to consult with their healthcare provider before receiving a vaccine.

4.3.2 York will make available an educational session about

(a) how COVID-19 vaccines work,

(b) vaccine safety related to the development of the COVID-19 vaccines,

(c) the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination,

(d) risks of not being vaccinated against COVID-19, and

(e) possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.

4.3.3   All University Community Members are expected to uphold York’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, equity, and inclusion. Other than the staff tasked with implementing this Policy, University Community Members should not enquire about someone else’s Vaccination status or their reasons for being Fully Vaccinated or not, nor should they engage in any reprisal against someone else on that basis.

4.3.4 A University Community Member who works or has a placement in a space operated by another organization is required to comply with this Policy in addition to the requirements of the other organization.

4.3.5  A University Community Member participating in In-person activities occurring outside Canada such as international programs or activities will undertake all reasonable efforts to comply with this Policy and may be subject to additional local public health and safety requirements and laws.

4.3.6 York may from time-to-time designate spaces on Campus that are subject to additional health and safety requirements.

4.3.7   Certain spaces on campus, such as indoor areas of dine-in restaurants and indoor areas of sport and recreational facilities, may be subject to different requirements to provide Proof of Vaccination at point of entry.

5. Exemption and Accommodations

5.1 University Community Members who cannot be Fully Vaccinated on a substantiated medical or human rights ground may request an exemption no later than by the applicable deadline established under 4.2.1 and will be accommodated to the point of undue hardship.

5.2 All Persons who requested an exemption no later than by the applicable deadline established under 4.2.1 and who are awaiting a decision or have been granted an exemption pursuant to 5.1 or are, pursuant to other provisions of this Policy, temporarily granted Access to campus without providing Proof of vaccination, must provide proof of negative COVID-19 tests in a manner and at a frequency to be determined by York, which must be at least once every seven days at a minimum. Such University Community Members may also be required to comply with additional health and safety measures that York deems necessary.

6. Compliance

6.1 University Community Members who do not comply with the requirements of this Policy or any procedure enacted under it may be subject to remedial actions and consequences, complaint and disciplinary procedures and other actions under applicable University policy, processes, or agreements.

6.2 Remedial actions and consequences will be determined based on the nature of the non-compliance and may include, as appropriate:

For all Persons: withdrawal of Access to campus, prohibition from participating in In-Person activities,

For students: discipline under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities,

For staff, faculty and instructors: unpaid leave and/or any other consequence under the relevant collective or employment agreement, processes and policies.

6.3 Contravention by a University Community Member of this Policy involving falsification of Proof of Vaccination, test results, or other documents required under this Policy will be subject to discipline.

7. Confidentiality and Protection of Personal Information

7.1 Personal information is collected under the authority of the York University Act, 1965 for the purposes of administering York’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for Persons that seek Access to campus and will be stored in accordance with the Policy on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy[4].

7.2 As per the Instructions of the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, York will collect and maintain statistical information including the number of persons that provided Proof of vaccination against COVID-19, the number of persons that provided a documented medical or human rights grounds for not being Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19 and the total number of persons to whom the Instruction applies and disclose such information to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities of Ontario (“Ministry”) in the manner and within the timelines specified by the Ministry.  York may provide additional detail within the statistical information as requested by the Ministry.

8. Complaints

Complaints under this Policy will be submitted, assessed, and resolved under existing policies, regulations, procedures, processes, or collective agreements in effect at York.

9.  Roles and Responsibilities

The Vice-President Equity, People and Culture (VPEPC) is responsible for the implementation of this Policy. The VPEPC may designate individuals responsible for the implementation of this Policy and may publish related requirements and procedure for the implementation of this Policy.

10. Duration and Review

10.1 From time to time, this Policy may be updated, as warranted by public health guidance or other changing circumstances. At all times, York will be guided by public health information, legislative requirements, and its existing obligations under, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Human Rights Code and other applicable law.

10.2 This Policy will be reviewed no later than December 1, 2021.


[1] https://www.who.int/standards/classifications/classification-of-diseases

[2] Staff, faculty and instructors were required to disclose their Vaccination status no later than October 5, 2021, under the previous iteration of this Policy and, therefore, should have already done so.

[3] Students who sought access to campus or to otherwise participate in In-person activities in the Fall 2021 Term were required to disclose their Vaccination status no later than October 19, 2021, under the previous iteration of this Policy and, therefore, should already have done so.

[4] https://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/policies/policies/access-to-information-and-protection-of-privacy-policy-on/

 

 

Date of Next Review: December 1, 2021
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: