More than 50 employees at Sudbury hospital terminated for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read

More than 50 employees at Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury who were not compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination rules have lost their jobs. HSN is Northern Ontario's largest hospital.

This follows a vaccine mandate announced at the hospital that took effect on Nov. 1. That's when HSN made it mandatory for all current employees, credentialed professional staff (physicians, dentists, etc), learners and volunteers to get the vaccine, said Jason Turnbull, the hospital's manager of communications and community engagement.

At that time, HSN had 266 or seven-per-cent of its employees who had yet to provide evidence of first dose of COVID-19 vaccination. By Nov. 15, HSN reported that 76 employees, or two per cent of the workforce who were not compliant were put on unpaid leave.

"On November 29th and 30th, HSN regretfully terminated 14 full-time employees, 32 part-time employees and seven casual workers who made the choice to not comply with the mandatory policy, representing 1.4 per cent of all HSN employees," said Turnbull.

The breakdown per employee group is as follows:

ONA Nursing 17;

ONA Paramedical 9;

CUPE Service 15;

CUPE Clerical 9;

Non union 3.

“ HSN respects the decision of these unvaccinated employees who, for reasons that are personal to them, chose to leave the organization," said Turnbull.

He added that the number of terminations was within the range HSN expected based on the experience of other Ontario hospitals that implemented mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. For context, over the last 12 months, HSN hired 788 new employees and 1,300 of its employees are eligible to retire in the next five years, he said.

Turnbull said as of today, 100 per cent of credentialed professional staff, learners and active on-site volunteers at HSN are vaccinated. He added that 99.7 per cent of active employees are vaccinated. One employee has an approved medical exemption and 12 exemptions (0.3%) are pending additional medical documentation and approval. The staff with approved or pending exemptions are required to submit rapid antigen test results twice per week.

Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com

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