U of T Mississauga adds vaccine requirement, although it is self-declared for now

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Published August 12, 2021 at 2:12 am

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Anyone setting foot on the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus will have to self-declare their COVID-19 vaccination status.

On Wednesday night (Aug. 11), U of T announced that it will have some form of vaccine requirement for anyone who intends to be on one of its three campuses. They will be required to first declare their status, while those who answer ‘no’ or decline to answer will need to take rapid-screening tests twice a week and produce a negative result within 72 hours of heading to campus. That is on top of following other public health measures.

“The public health evidence is clear: Vaccination provides the best protection from COVID-19,” U of T professor  Salvatore Spadafora stated in a media release on Wednesday.

Both Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health approved of the plan, the university said.

The university added that educational placements, music instruction and varsity sports are among the activities that may be considered high risk, requiring participants to have received a full course of vaccine.

The University of Ottawa, Western University in London, and Seneca College have previously enacted vaccine requirements.

Several other Ontario post-secondary institutions are requiring proof of vaccination for students who live in a residence, or participate in certain close-contact activities.

McMaster University and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Sheridan College in Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga, and Brock University in St. Catharines have all announced similar COVID-19 polices in recent weeks. 

A similar policy that applied to UTM was announced in June.

Last Friday, the Council of Ontario Universities and Ontario Colleges have also called for a provincewide policy “that would require the vaccination of postsecondary students, staff and faculty, to help ensure optimal public health protection for all.”

Numerous groups representing healthcare workers, as well as not-for-profit and municipally-run long-term care homes, have called for mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers.

Business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Toronto Region Board of Trade, and doctors’, nurses’ and pharmacists’ groups have also called for a vaccine certificate system as a way to avoid a fourth-wave lockdown.

So far, the Progressive Conservative provincial government has declined to do so. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott has echoed Premier Doug Ford’s opposition to creating any such system.

“We are not mandating vaccines for anyone, although we strongly encourage people to take the vaccine,” Elliott said on Tuesday.

In Quebec, the provincial government has said it will introduce a vaccination passport on Sept. 1 to give vaccinated people access to public events, training facilities, bars and restaurants. It would not be required in retail stores.

On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets became the first Canadian-based National Hockey League team to say it would have a vaccine requirement for anyone entering their arena.

Earlier in the day, federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to get a government document that will certify their COVID-19 vaccine history for the purpose of international travel.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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