OCUFA welcomes government mandating vaccine policies for postsecondary institutions

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TORONTO, August 17, 2021 — Ontario university faculty and academic librarians welcome the announcement from the provincial government that will require vaccination policies for high-risk settings, including postsecondary education institutions.

OCUFA had previously called on the government to implement a required vaccination policy for universities as part of a safe return to campus strategy, along with appropriate accommodations for those with valid reasons to be exempted from the policy.

While it is encouraging to see the Ontario government listen to the advice of health experts and require vaccine policies, it is important to note that, on its own, mandatory vaccination will not be sufficient for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff to campuses. To protect the health and safety of our campus communities, the government must provide appropriate supports to universities to ensure that, among other safeguards, ventilation systems in all campus buildings are working effectively and meet the criteria recommended by public and occupational health authorities.

“A safe return to campus requires a thoughtful and comprehensive provincial strategy that not only includes mandatory vaccination policies, but also proper infrastructure investments, necessary supports for international students, limits on class sizes, and implementation of health and safety measures—including mandatory masking and physical distancing—informed by the most up-to-date science on COVID-19,” said Sue Wurtele, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

The fall term is only weeks away, giving universities little time to draft these policies, but the details of these policies and how they are developed will be critical.

“The government must ensure that university administrators work with Joint Health and Safety Committees and consult with workers’ and students’ unions as they make important decisions on what a return to campus can look like,” said Wurtele. “These policies must be equitable, transparent, accountable, and be developed in consultation with the campus community.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 professors and academic librarians in 30 faculty associations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at www.ocufa.on.ca.


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Ben Lewis, OCUFA Communications Lead at 416-306-6033 or communications@ocufa.on.ca