By Victoria Gray
Later this fall unvaccinated community members won’t be able to access certain services.
The Grand River Employment and Training Inc. (GRETI) announced a vaccination and testing policy on September 7. The policy will go into effect on September 22, the same day Ontario’s vaccine passport comes into effect.
This policy will effect employees, clients, students, volunteers, contractors, tenants and visitors to all GRETI facilities including the GREAT Opportunity Centre, Kayanase Garden Centre, OSTTC Multi-trades Building and the OSTTC Longhouse.
“As of September 22, 2021, prior to being permitted to access or attend at any GRET facility, all personnel must have at least one dose (of a) two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or the first dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series that is listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization or approved by Health Canada,” GRETI said in a statement.
That policy becomes stricter on October 1, when all those working in or accessing GRETI facilities must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before accessing those facilities. Those who do not want to receive the vaccine may still access services, but they will have to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) with negative results before going in.
“Personnel must present negative test results following each RAT prior to being permitted access and entry onto GRETI facilities. Personnel who do not submit to a RAT or who scree preliminary positive shall not be permitted to access or enter a GRETI facility,” the statement said.
Those who do take the RAT route will have to get tested three days a week, at the discretion of management.
“GRETI may increase or decrease the rate of testing as it seems reasonable and in accordance with instructions by the Office of the chief Medical Officer of Health,” GTREI said.
All those under the age of 18, must get their parent or guardian’s permission to use GRETI services.
The statement said the purpose of the policy is to, “respond to and manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and to “stop, slow or otherwise limit the spread, suffering, impacts and death from COVID-19 and its variants while sustaining infrastructure.”
RAT’s will only be given to asymptomatic people, those who exhibit symptoms will be directed to their local assessment centre, healthcare provided or a licenses lab to undergo further testing and remain in self-isolation until directed otherwise by public health officials.
GRETI visitors may qualify a Vaccine Exemption Accommodation based on medical, religious, cultural or creed exemptions.
To qualify for the medical exemption a person must present a signed medical note from a licensed doctor or registered nurse that explains the nature of the need for exemption, but does not need to specify the reason. However, it must specify how long the applicant needs the exemption. The requests are at GRETI’s discretion and despite approving any medical exemption, those who qualify must still take a RAT.
For the cultural, creed or religious exemption people must fill out the application and provide a self-declaration. The application is at GRETI’s discretion and those who are exempt must still take RAT’s. To apply for an exemption or for more information email email@example.com.
All COVID-19 safety protocols, including physical distancing, wearing masks and hand hygiene measures remain in place and anyone who does not follow the rules will have to leave.
“Failure to comply with this policy may result in personnel not being permitted and/or removed from the GRETI facility for work, school or leisure at their own expense,” the statement said.
GRETI did not return request for comment.
By Victoria Gray