The province has announced it will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021. The province has published a Frequently Asked Questions page.
All Ontarians who registered their vaccines are encouraged to download their vaccine receipt or print their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900 as proof of their vaccine status until an enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code is available.
- Ontarians will be required to show their vaccine receipt when entering designated settings along with another piece of photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or health card.
- These mandatory requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies, etc.
- The province is working to establish a process to prove vaccination status for people with no email, health card or ID, as well as support the implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities.
- Ontario will support the implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities whether or not they have opted to enter their data into COVax, while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access and possession principles.
Many concerns have been raised around ways to ensure people who are transient or homeless will not be discriminated against.
- In Quebec, the province says homeless people will be exempt from the requirement to present a vaccination passport to access restaurant dining rooms and patios, as well as food courts in shopping malls, for example. However, it’s not clear how people will prove they are homeless.
- Several articles have been written on respecting the rights of people experiencing homelessness and challenges with living on the streets. In BC, they are also raising the issue of access to vaccine passports for people who are homeless and how this will make life more difficult.
In Grey and Bruce County, agencies have supported people to get vaccinated and are supporting the printing out vaccine receipts. As we move forward with an Ontario Vaccine Passport, please consider how this affects the most vulnerable people that we support in our communities.
WORKPLACE VACCINATION POLICY
- The Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health is recommending that local employers develop a workplace vaccination policy to protect their workers and the public from COVID-19. A workplace vaccination policy will identify the organizational expectations with regards to COVID-19 immunization of employees. The Health Unit has posted some recommendations and policy templates: http://ow.ly/bGs350G3anC
- The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has shared the Vax Pass Tenets to assist businesses to develop an employee vaccination policy. https://occ.ca/wp-content/uploads/OCC-Vax-Pass-Tenets.pdf
- The Region of Peel has announced a new employee vaccination policy. All Regional employees are to disclose and provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination status. Employees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete educational programming about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination. They will also need to provide regular negative COVID tests.
- Poverty Task Force meeting: on Friday, September 17th we shall be taking a health equity lens to the work we do. The meeting is entitled “Talking health equity: moving from response to recovery: Dr. Rim Zayed, Grey Bruce Health Unit will start off our conversation. We have also invited Federal Candidates to join us.
- Temporary Sick Leave: Ontario has announced it will extend a temporary sick leave program for workers at the end of December 2021.Since April 2021, the province provides 3 paid days of sick leave to accommodate self-isolation requirements during the pandemic, reimbursing employers up to $200 per day for what they pay out.
- Virtual urgent care services: under the pandemic the development of virtual hospital Emergency Rooms is something that might become a permanent tool for our local hospitals. While not in place now, discussions are underway on how to use them effectively at Grey Bruce Health Services.
- Virtual UrgentCareOntario.ca: several regional hospitals announced they are partnering in a joint pilot initiative to offer virtual urgent care services to residents of southwestern Ontario. This service offers patients located outside these hospital communities the opportunity to access urgent care without leaving home.
IMPACT OF PANDEMIC ON YOUTH
- YWCA Canada and YMCA Canada have embarked on a new project focused on responding to the impact of the pandemic on youth. Preventing a lockdown generation Report, 2021 outlines challenges faced by youth, ages 18 to 30 years old, in light of the pandemic, and proposes policy responses to ensure youth recover and are resilient in the face of future crises.
- YMCA Grey Bruce Emergency shelter: From April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021, the program has assisted more than 800 instances of emergency shelter for a total of 8,029 nights of emergency shelter. (Compared to 2019-2020 fiscal year with 2,731 nights of shelter).
- Grey Bruce By Names List has a total of 119 people who are experiencing homelessness. Of those, 56 are chronically homeless.
- The Social Services Relief Fund, Phase 3 still has remaining funds until December 2021. Organizations should contact Josh Gibson, Josh.Gibson@grey.ca or Tania Dickson, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOD SECURITY SUPPORTS
- Feeding Families – Restaurant Relief initiative has now wrapped up. 75 donors gave a total of $52,000 to more than 40 local restaurants who made close to 3,500 meals that were delivered to OSHaRE. OSHaRE shared these out through their own community meal program as well as to other meal programs across Grey Bruce.
- Dozens of the meals were also a vital component in assisting with Covid outbreaks at a Hanover rooming house and on Saugeen First Nation when large groups of people were asked to quarantine for at least 2 weeks.
- Meals2Motels: 11,366 meals from April 2020 to July 2021 were delivered to people sheltering in motels.
- Future of Food: local growers, agri-food processors and food businesses are invited to join area partners on September 22nd, 10am-12noon for a collaborative presentation on the Future of Food. The presentation is followed by an interactive networking session for participants. This event is designed to provide our local agriculture and food sector with the high-level information they need to plan post-COVID. This is a FREE event, but registration is required. Space is limited. To register, visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-future-of-food-registration-164022936017
- Grey Bruce Newcomers Welcoming Week are hosting a week of celebrations to showcase diverse communities across Grey-Bruce, to foster an inclusive community and welcome newcomers. The first annual “Welcoming Week” will be from September 10 to 19, 2021. Learn more at: News & Events | Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership .
Stay well, Jill