"I am not prepared to jeopardize the delivery of care to millions of Ontarians," Ford said.
Premier Doug Ford has officially made the call that he's not going to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario's hospital workers.
"This is a complex issue," Ford said in an emailed statement on November 3. "But when the impact of the potential departure of tens of thousands of health care workers is weighed against the small number of outbreaks that are currently active in Ontario's hospitals, I am not prepared to jeopardize the delivery of care to millions of Ontarians."
The premier said that after looking through all of the evidence, he's decided to be flexible and give individual hospitals the power to make "human resourcing decisions." But for now, the Ford administration believes hospitals are still safe for patients and staff members who take care of them due to all of the health measures in place (like high vaccination rates and frequent testing).
This announcement comes after many hospitals across the province, including Toronto's University Health Network, have already put mandatory vaccination policies in place.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) has expressed "disappointment" with Ford's decision.
"This decision by Premier Ford is a disgrace and shows a lack of courage to do what's right for Ontario's patients and workers. To not implement a province-wide vaccination policy for all health care workers puts the burden unfairly on employers and imposes a risk of infection on Ontarians receiving health services," RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun said in a November 3 press release. "The majority of hospital CEOs have already weighed in and provided their support for mandatory vaccination for health care workers. To not act immediately and go against the evidence is irresponsible."
Dr. Michael Warner, director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, also commented on Twitter that Ford's call is a bad one that "will endanger patients and increase [the] risk of [hospital care workers'] absenteeism due to COVID."
In Ontario, a vaccine passport is required to access some events, services and businesses, including restaurants and bars.