Joint statement: Calling for a provincewide vaccine policy and safe pass

Aug. 6, 2021 - Ontario’s post-secondary institutions remain committed to ensuring a safe reopening this fall, allowing for more in-person learning and on-campus activity.

Given growing concerns related to the Delta variant and other variants of concern, both locally and around the world, Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities call on the government to provide a provincewide policy that would require the vaccination of post-secondary students, staff and faculty, to help ensure optimal public health protection for all.

We know that ensuring high rates of vaccination will be essential to protecting public health and reopening the economy – including our campuses – this fall. Our institutions continue to accelerate vaccination efforts across the province through campus-based pop-up clinics and doing all we can to encourage all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  A provincewide vaccine policy would further enhance these efforts.

To further support public health efforts, post-secondary institutions also support the adoption of the COVID safe pass that would provide businesses and institutions with an additional tool to help support public health measures.

A coordinated and consistent approach by the provincial government is the optimal solution. Provincial public health guidelines have assisted the public in understanding restrictions throughout the pandemic, and similarly, a consistent provincewide approach to vaccine policy will enhance public understanding and further protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.

Throughout the pandemic, post-secondary institutions have worked closely with local public health to ensure we implement government and public health orders in the most effective way to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff and faculty. We will continue to do so, prioritizing the health and safety of our campus communities, as we plan for a safe fall reopening. 

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the province and Ontario public health on these additional tools that will help enhance a safe return of campus life, in-person learning, research and the delivery of a high-quality education for our students, staff, faculty and communities.

- Linda Franklin, President and CEO, Colleges Ontario

- Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities