Not a day goes by without one high-profile organization or another announcing a new requirement for patrons, employees or visitors to be fully vaccinated, or to provide proof of a negative test for COVID-19, proof of recovery, medical exemption, or some other alternative. This is true of both private corporations and public sector organizations. Indeed, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore issued a directive on August 17, 2021 mandating that hospitals, paramedics, and home and community care service providers, as specifically defined, have a COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees and volunteers in place no later than September 7, 2021. Please see the following links for the announcement
, Directive #6
and resource guide
The increased tempo of these announcements, coupled with legitimate concerns about the strength of particular COVID-19 variants, have naturally raised questions among members and the public about the potential for vaccination requirements or mandates within the practise of chiropractic in Ontario. Let me assure you that CCO has been, and continues to be, in regular dialogue with the Ministry of Health, as well as with other public health regulators and health systems partners, regarding this subject.
At present, there is no indication from the province that regulated health professionals, including chiropractors, in private practice settings, are among the intended services covered by the August 17, 2021 directive. CCO will continue to engage with the Ministry and other relevant stakeholders on this important consideration, and will of course immediately communicate any changes to the current direction that affect chiropractors if and when they occur. If we have learned anything over the course of the last 18 months of this pandemic, it’s that policies and procedures can and do change in response to conditions on the ground.
I want to be very clear, however, that as the regulator it is not CCO’s role to advocate for, or against, a vaccine mandate. The role of the College, as defined by statute, is to regulate all of chiropractic in Ontario in the public interest. Included in this is disseminating and implementing provincial public health orders and directives, as well as developing specific chiropractic standards and guidelines that serve the public. Any policy positions consistent with Government orders and directives taken by the College are determined by CCO Council — comprised of public and elected members — all of whom have the responsibility to render their decisions through the lens of public interest protection.
Chiropractors in Ontario have done an exemplary job of putting patient and staff safety first, by observing the various precautions put in place including masking, social distancing, staggered scheduling and increased sanitization. Many chiropractors, in response to inquiries, also choose to disclose their personal vaccination status in addition to these other measures, although it is not a requirement to do so. I also want to remind chiropractors that you must refer patients who ask questions related to vaccination of any sort to a health professional who has that act within their scope of practice, in accordance with Standard of Practice S-001: Chiropractic Scope of Practice
and the Professional Advisory on Vaccination and Immunization
Creating a safe and healthful environment to provide Ontarians with quality chiropractic care is in the best interests of all those who seek it. I am confident this will continue to be the case this fall no matter how the effects of seasonality, new variants, or the necessary public health responses to them unfold.