TORONTO -- The leaders of 14 hospitals in Ontario's central region have come up with a joint COVID-19 vaccination policy that they say will ultimately lead to unpaid leave or termination for unvaccinated staff.

The CEOs and chiefs of staff have sent a letter to staff outlining their hospitals' shared policy, which includes mandatory vaccination for new employees.

As of Sept. 7, all employees, credentialed staff, contractors, students and volunteers will have to provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular testing and an education session.

That's in line with a directive from the province earlier this month that mandates employers in health and education to have staff disclose vaccination status by that date or face the education session and testing requirements.

The hospitals, including Humber River Hospital, Mackenzie Health and Trillium Health Partners, will have a "progressive plan" that will ultimately see harsher consequences for unvaccinated employees, with facilities enacting varying deadlines.

The CEOs say if staff are still unvaccinated and without a medical exemption by those dates, it will lead to "unpaid leave and/or termination for cause."

(The Canadian Press)