COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Visitor/Essential Care Partner and contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Throughout the pandemic, Unity Health has put various measures in place to protect our vulnerable patients and our people across our three sites, with the most important tool being immunization. Starting on Monday, Nov. 1, all visitors/Essential Care Partners and contractors (including vendors, delivery personnel/couriers) entering the hospital and most off-site clinical spaces will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 with government-issued photo identification.

This policy is in alignment with policies at a number of hospitals in Ontario and is part of our commitment to providing the safest environment possible for care and healing.

This policy will does not apply to the Houses of Providence, which has a separate Essential Care Partner policy. 

What visitors/ECPs/contractors will need to enter Unity Health locations:

  • One piece of government-issued photo identification ID (identification)
  • Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada AND having received the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago)
    To download or print your vaccination receipt, visit Ontario.ca/proofofvaccination or call 1-833-943-3900 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • Successful completion of symptom screening at the entrance

Exceptions to the proof of vaccination policy for Essential Care Partners who are not vaccinated will apply to the following situations:

Inpatients:

  • Patients facing end-of-life (prognosis 48 to 72 hours)
  • Patients with a new life-altering or critical illness as identified by clinical team in ICUs and select pre- and post-surgical procedures
  • A parent or guardian accompanying a patient under the age of 18 years
  • A person in labour – ECP can stay for the duration of the delivery and for 2 hours after delivery

Outpatients:

  • Patient attending a high risk pregnancy clinic appointment
  • Patient attending an appointment where a difficult diagnosis will be shared
  • A parent or guardian accompanying a patient under the age of 18 years
  • Patient requiring support to safely attend an appointment due to dementia, significant developmental or intellectual delay, inability to effectively communicate or advocate for themselves or mobility issues that cannot be supported by the care team

Emergency Department:

  • Patient with life or limb-threatening conditions
  • Patient under 18 years of age
  • Patient who has a physical, cognitive or developmental disability, are unable to effectively communicate or advocate themselves  or have mobility issues that cannot be supported by the care team and may compromise their safety

Family Medicine/Family Health Team:

  • Parents and caregivers accompanying a patient to a family medicine and family health team appointment(s)

Other:

  • Children under the age of 12 are exempt at this time and will follow our normal process for visitor approval
  • Approved medical exemptions

We will continue to have an appeals process in place to support compassionate exemptions, where appropriate.

FAQS about COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

As a hospital, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect our vulnerable patients and our people across our three sites. Throughout the pandemic, Unity Health has put various protective measures in place, with the most important tool being immunization. This policy is in alignment with policies at a number of hospitals in Ontario and is part of our commitment to providing the safest environment possible for care and healing.

Full vaccination against COVID-19 is defined as having received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada AND having received the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.

Starting on Monday, Nov. 1, individuals who are seeking to visit a patient at Unity Health but are not fully vaccinated will not be able to enter our buildings. Exceptions to the proof of vaccination requirement for visitors/ECPs who are not vaccinated will apply in the following situations:

Inpatients:

  • Patients facing end-of-life (prognosis 48 to 72 hours)
  • Patients with a new life-altering or critical illness as identified by clinical team in ICUs and select pre- and post-surgical procedures
  • A parent or guardian accompanying a patient under the age of 18 years
  • A person in labour – ECP can stay for the duration of the delivery and for 2 hours after delivery

Outpatients:

  • Patient attending a high risk pregnancy clinic appointment
  • Patient attending an appointment where a difficult diagnosis will be shared
  • A parent or guardian accompanying a patient under the age of 18 years
  • Patient requiring support to safely attend an appointment due to dementia, significant developmental or intellectual delay, inability to effectively communicate or advocate for themselves or mobility issues that cannot be supported by the care team

Emergency Department:

  • Patient with life or limb-threatening conditions
  • Patient under 18 years of age
  • Patient who has a physical, cognitive or developmental disability, are unable to effectively communicate or advocate themselves  or have mobility issues that cannot be supported by the care team and may compromise their safety

Family Medicine/Family Health Team:

  • Parents and caregivers accompanying a patient to a family medicine and family health team appointment(s)

Other:

  • Children under the age of 12 are exempt at this time and will follow our normal process for visitor approval
  • Approved medical exemptions

For the protection of all our patients, we encourage everyone eligible for vaccination to be fully vaccinated.

Outpatient visitors/ECPs who are not fully vaccinated and need to accompany an outpatient who requires support for physical or cognitive reasons, please contact the outpatient clinic for next steps.

Inpatient visitors/ECPs who are not fully vaccinated can request an appeal by calling Patient Relations. The Patient Relations team will work with the visitor and the patient’s clinical unit on a case-by-case basis to understand the patient’s needs and alternative options. Appeals will be sent to the Appeals Committee for consideration. These decisions will not be made by our Screening team at the hospital entrance.

Individuals who would like to request an exception or accommodation are asked to contact Patient Relations at the site where the patient you’d like to visit is located:

Visitors/ECPs will be allowed to enter Unity Health if they have a written document from a physician or nurse practitioner outlining a documented medical exemption that meets the provincial criteria.

At this time children under the age of 12 are exempt from this process and will follow our normal process for visitor approval.

In alignment with Unity Health’s infection prevention and control (IPAC) standards, visitors/ECPs who are granted an exception but are not fully vaccinated must wear their mask at all times, practice proper hand hygiene and maintain physical distancing at all times. They will also be expected to go directly to and from the unit, and not visit any other areas of the hospital except to use the bathroom.

It is important to note that everyone at Unity Health must continue to follow the IPAC practices above, especially as there will be patients receiving care and individuals who are not fully vaccinated in the hospital with an approved exception.

If a visitors/ECP is partway through their vaccination regimen, or have other vaccine considerations (e.g. received vaccines not approved for use in Canada), please contact Unity Health’s Patient Relations team at the site where the patient you’d like to visit is located. Appeals will be sent to the Appeals Committee for consideration.

No. If a visitor/ECP/contractor cannot provide proof of vaccination, they will be considered as not fully vaccinated.

If you have received your COVID-19 vaccine and have misplaced your proof of vaccination, you can easily retrieve your confirmation receipt by visiting covid19.ontariohealth.ca and following the step-by-step instructions. This website works with most modern browsers on desktop and mobile devices. If you do not have a valid health card, please call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. This line is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

Unity Health will not be accepting proof of negative PCR or rapid antigen tests in place of COVID-19 vaccination records for entry at our hospitals. This aligns with the approach to mandatory vaccination in place at other public locations in Ontario.

It is important that Unity Health’s testing capacity is appropriately used for identifying symptomatic individuals. For the protection of all our patients, we encourage everyone eligible for vaccination to be fully vaccinated.

Visitors/ECPs/contractors will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a documented medical exemption to the Screening team at the hospital entrances. Our Screeners will be requesting proof of vaccination records for all ECPs/contractors, as well as screening for symptoms of COVID-19.

We recognize that we serve a very diverse community, and that some members of our community do not have access to technology to display their digital vaccination record or to print a copy of their proof of vaccination. Unity Health is committed to working with our visitors and our community, and will maintain as much flexibility and support for our ECPs as possible in determining proof of vaccination.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, we will be reducing the presence of visitors/Essential Care Partners due to the increasing community spread of COVID-19. For more information on these changes, please visit the Visitor/Essential Care Partner policy page.

Last updated January 14, 2022