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Ontario gov't considers making hospitals re-hire unvaxxed staff amidst shortages

After firing hundreds of health-care workers across the province who refused to comply with mandatory vaccination policies, Ontario hospitals may soon be forced to re-hire those who were terminated.

Ontario gov't considers making hospitals re-hire unvaxxed staff amidst shortages
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Hospitals and other public sector employers could be forced to re-hire unvaccinated workers under a policy that has been considered by the provincial government as it confronts desperate staff shortages throughout the health-care system, the Ottawa Sun reports.

Anthony Dale, head of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) said that the OHA was made aware last week that the Ontario government was considering policy changes “that would make it mandatory for public sector employers, including hospitals, to re-hire employees that have been terminated for failing to comply with COVID-19 vaccination policies.”

This comes as the province has re-entered a state of lockdown and forced several sectors of 'non-essential' businesses to close once again, while ordering hospitals to postpone 'non-urgent' surgeries and procedures as hospitals struggle with staff shortages and limited inpatient capacity.

The vast majority of hospitals in Ontario have implemented mandatory vaccination policies, although the province does not technically require them. What the Ontario government has mandated is that vaccination policies be in place at all hospitals, which at a minimum require employees to reveal their vaccination status and undergo regular testing if they have not taken a COVID shot.

Since implementing their own mandatory vaccination policies throughout last fall, Ontario hospitals have fired hundreds of health-care workers across the province for refusal to comply.

Anthony Dale of the OHA claimed that re-hiring unvaccinated workers would actually cause greater harm to Ontario's health-care system, stating that “government interference on hospital decisions regarding health-care worker vaccinations would create significant disruption when hospitals are taking extraordinary measures to respond to the fourth wave.”

"In fact, returning unvaccinated health-care workers to the hospital may increase the risk of transmission to patients and staff, and would amplify our staffing shortages,” Dale said.

This is despite the fact that the COVID vaccines do not stop infection or transmission of the virus, and that the majority of positive cases are among those who have taken two or more doses of a vaccine.

Dale also claimed that re-hiring the “very small number” of unvaccinated health-care workers “would not have a material impact on the staffing shortages we are now experiencing.”

“The truth of the matter is that the health human resources shortages facing the region and our province were in place long before the pandemic and the implementation of mandatory vaccination policies,” stated Dale.

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  • By Mocha Bezirgan

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