What we know about shooting and getting shots…

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Are vaccines mandatory in the film and television industry?

On September 13 , the Government of Ontario updated the regulations for Step 3 of the Covid Recovery legislation to require patrons, as of September 22, to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status and proof of ID to enter the premises of certain businesses and organizations throughout the province; please click here for a detailed summary.  Toronto Public Health, on August 20, issued a recommendation that all businesses in Toronto have a mandatory vaccine policy in place, and the City of Toronto has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees.  As more businesses and municipalities issue these notices, these requirements may continue to expand. We are already seeing location work becoming more complicated as business owners (including all federally regulated properties) are obliged to insist on collecting proof of vaccination as part of the location contracts.

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, anyone with a doctor diagnosed medical condition or a religious affiliation that precludes vaccination must notify their employer in order to be accommodated in their duties by their employer, and must also provide appropriate proof that they qualify for this exemption.  If you qualify for this exemption, ACTRA would advise you to acquire the necessary documentation which includes a note from your medical practitioner or from the leader of your place of worship.

UPDATE: December 30, 2021

From the Ontario Government:

  • Effective January 4, 2022, the use of the enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app will be required where proof of vaccination is required. Download by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/get-proof/, or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your vaccine certificate mailed.
  • Effective January 10, 2022, organizations and businesses that require provincial proof-of-vaccination system will no longer accept physician notes. Individuals who have an eligible medical exemption or are participating in an active Health Canada Approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial must have their exemption verified and integrated into an enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code.

Read the Press Release...

ACTRA Toronto continues to support and adhere to all public health advisories and legislation regarding Covid-19 and vaccination, and encourages all members to get vaccinated if they are medically able and to continue to adhere to the safety protocols that have been so successful to-date in the industry.

IMPORTANT: ACTRA does not create on set safety policies. The obligation to create health and safety policies, including Covid-19 policies, rests with the individual producer and engager. ACTRA is actively engaged in ensuring the health and safety of our members on set and will challenge any policy deemed to be unreasonable or discriminatory under the Human Rights Code.

Additional Resources:

What does a vaccine policy include?

A vaccine policy may require that all cast and crew provide proof of vaccination, with limited exceptions for those who cannot be vaccinated for human rights reasons, or may require individuals to undergo regular antigen testing for the virus for those who decline the vaccine, in order to work on a production. As more locations in Ontario will require productions using their spaces to be vaccinated eg. Universities and hospitals, productions may need to ensure that anyone on those sets has been vaccinated. A Production seeking to implement such a policy should communicate any requirements in their casting breakdowns.

Ontario provincial and municipal links related to Vaccination Policies

What about the Section 21 COVID Safety protocols?
The Section 21 COVID Safety protocols continue to be in effect as required by Regulation in Ontario. Adherence to a vaccine policy is in addition to required compliance with the Section 21 protocols.
Do the new vaccination policies in the revised COVID-19 Return to Work Agreement between American Unions and Studios apply to productions shooting in Canada?

Recent negotiations to extend the COVID-19 Return To Work Agreement between American Unions and Studios have resulted in revisions that define new vaccination policies that are available to American producers.

While the policies are available to American producers and reference Canada, any policy requiring mandatory vaccination or mandatory vaccination disclosure requires further scrutiny under Canadian law. All studios operating in Ontario must have policies in place which adhere to applicable Human Rights legislation and the Section 21 protocols.

ACTRA Toronto and the Ontario Unions and Guilds are working together to arrive at a measured and unified response, and we will keep ACTRA members informed as things develop.

Where can I find information about the Human Rights Code as it relates to COVID-19?

OHRC policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates

September 22, 2021

Vaccination requirements generally permissible

While receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, the OHRC takes the position that mandating and requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (Code) as long as protections are put in place to make sure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated. This applies to all organizations.

Upholding individual human rights while trying to collectively protect the general public has been a challenge throughout the pandemic. Organizations must attempt to balance the rights of people who have not been vaccinated due to a Code-protected ground, such as disability, while ensuring individual and collective rights to health and safety.

Read the full Policy Statement

COVID-19 and Ontario’s Human Rights Code – Questions and Answers

Updated January 12, 2021 - The OHRC has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These questions and answers cover the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tenants and landlords, as well as residential institutions. [Disclaimer: The answers to the questions posed do not constitute legal advice. The OHRC continues to monitor the evolving situation and will update or add to these questions and answers on an ongoing basis as needed.]