Jarvis: Local Hospitals Flooded with Complaints and Appeals Over Vaccine Mandate

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Fifty-two grievances or appeals at Windsor Regional Hospital. Thirty-seven, from six different unions, at the Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Another at Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington.


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All fighting COVID-19 vaccination mandates from hospitals for staff.

And now, the Ontario Superior Court has issued an interim injunction against University Health Network’s mandate that its employees be vaccinated, the Toronto Sun reported Monday.

“I imagine the pressure will be quite intense for unions or others to initiate other legal proceedings,” said Windsor Regional CEO David Musyj.

“Imagine the legal fees that will be paid across the province,” said Janice Kaffer, CEO of Hotel-Dieu.

That is why the Ontario government should require that all hospital employees, and all healthcare employees, be vaccinated.

Six employees, including nurses, from UHN, which includes Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals, presented their motion on Friday.


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“The harm posed by the applicants is potentially serious and cannot be reversed,” Ontario Superior Court Judge Sean Dunphy is quoted in Friday’s decision that did not reveal why employees do not want to be vaccinated. “It is alleged that some or all of them may be forced to be vaccinated against their will because they cannot, in their personal and family circumstances, run the risk of being left helpless by the policy they seek to challenge.”

It is believed to be the first time that a vaccination mandate in Ontario has been challenged in court.

But it may not be the last time.

Protesters demanding an end to vaccine mandates hold a rally in front of the Windsor Regional Hospital - Met Campus on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021.
Protesters demanding an end to vaccine mandates hold a rally in front of the Windsor Regional Hospital – Met Campus on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Staff at all of the province’s hospitals with a vaccine mandate, including the three hospitals in Windsor and Essex County, which have the same mandate as UHN, could also challenge their employers in court, or regret the policy in under their union contracts or appeal it. under the Law on Public Hospitals.


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If Ontario had ordered all hospital employees to be vaccinated, as it had ordered all long-term care staff to be vaccinated, that could still be questioned. But it would be challenged once. Not over and over.

That’s what the administration of US President Joe Biden did last month, announcing that all staff at all Medicare and Medicaid-certified health care facilities should be vaccinated, including not just hospitals and nursing homes, but also dialysis centers, day surgeries and home care.

But in Ontario, where we like to do things the hard way, all health care providers except long-term care providers have to decide if they need to vaccinate staff. And everyone could face multiple challenges to that decision.


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And every time someone challenges you, that adds to the hesitancy of employers considering whether or not to force vaccination and people who don’t want the vaccine.

Not to mention the waste of time and money.

The Hotel-Dieu’s human resources staff, which fired 24 employees for refusing to get vaccinated, are supposed to be busy recruiting doctors and nurses and implementing staff health initiatives for those feeling tired and burned out by the pandemic. .

“It’s hard to do when they have to respond to dozens of complaints,” Kaffer said.

Some employees regretted the policy, others the denial of a religious or creed exemption. And the 24 fired employees regretted their unpaid leave and subsequent dismissal.

And each union has a different process, deadlines, and expectations.


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What a mess.

“This virus has thrived on people who don’t make timely and decisive decisions,” said Musyj, whose hospital fired 62 employees for refusing to get vaccinated. “It’s the difference between telling people what they want to hear and what they need to hear.

Prime Minister Doug Ford asked hospitals last week what they think of staff vaccination mandates.

“Too many healthcare workers remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, posing a significant and ongoing risk to patient safety that threatens the potential introduction of COVID-19 within the hospital setting and … transmission between patients and staff.” , the Ontario Hospital Association responded, urging Ford to require vaccination for all hospital employees.

Data from Public Health Ontario shows that a “substantial” number of COVID-19 cases originate in hospitals, the province’s scientific chart responded to Ford.

“To be clear,” the three hospitals responded here in a joint letter, “we strongly support OHA’s recommendation ‘for a single provincial policy that brings all hospitals together to full vaccination of the workforce.’


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About 85 percent of the hospital staff here were vaccinated before it was mandatory. Now about 99 percent are vaccinated.

“The evidence has clearly shown (that) definitive results in increased vaccination rates,” Musyj said.

The only good thing about the mess of complaints, appeals and now a court case is that it could finally push the government to take the initiative.

“It will make all Ontario hospitals safer for patients and healthcare workers and reduce the risk that the COVID-19 pandemic will drag on for longer,” concluded the OHA.

Those are the experts talking, and it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

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