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More Ontario universities make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory on campus

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More universities in Ontario are making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for those who will be on campus this fall.

York University in Toronto, Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., the University of Guelph, and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ont., were the latest to say Thursday that they'll require proof of vaccination from those attending their facilities.

The University of Toronto and Western University in London, Ont., announced their mandatory vaccination policies a day earlier.

Queen's University said all students, staff, and faculty returning to campus will need to be fully vaccinated or have a plan to do so by Sept. 7.

"We know from medical science that ensuring high vaccination rates is the most effective way to mitigate a fourth wave and to best safeguard our anticipated full return to campus," principal and vice-chancellor Patrick Deane said in a statement.

The University of Guelph said its mandatory vaccine policy would apply at its Guelph and Ridgetown campuses and indoors at all its university-managed field stations.

University President Charlotte A.B. Yates said the policy will help guard against outbreaks and protect individuals from severe disease, hospitalization and death.

The University of Toronto had earlier mandated vaccinations for those living on campus and for certain activities it considers "high-risk," such as varsity sports, music instruction and educational placements.

It now requires everyone who intends to be on its three campuses to be fully immunized -- those who cannot be vaccinated will need to participate in a rapid screening program and be subject to additional health measures.

"All members of our community should become vaccinated as soon as possible," Professor Salvatore Spadafora, special adviser to the university's president on COVID-19, said in a statement.

"The public health evidence is clear: Vaccination provides the best protection from COVID-19."

Western University said all students, staff and faculty on campus this fall will need to provide proof of vaccination and those who don't will need to be tested twice a week.

Ontario Tech University said it's giving individuals until Oct. 17 to receive their second vaccination. It said that was to accommodate community members coming from overseas, and others who "may not have realized the critical importance of vaccination or may have extenuating circumstances."

York University said that all community members, visitors and those living in undergraduate residences will required to be vaccinated.

Earlier this week, the University of Ottawa mandated COVID-19 vaccines for those attending its campus in the fall, while Seneca College in the Greater Toronto Area announced a similar policy in July.

Last Friday, the Council of Ontario Universities and Colleges Ontario called for a province-wide policy that requires the vaccination of post-secondary students, staff and faculty.

The organizations said post-secondary institutions also support the adoption of a "COVID Safe Pass" that would provide businesses and institutions an additional tool to help support public health measures.

Premier Doug Ford has been opposed to an Ontario vaccine certificate system, which would restrict access to some high-risk activities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2021.

With files from CTV Toronto's Abby Neufeld. Top Stories

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