Rod Phillips said the mandatory vaccination policy, set to come into place on Nov. 15, is needed to deal with the threat posed by the delta variant.
“This measure is essential,” he said at a 1 p.m. news conference.
Currently, workers in the sector are required to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing, as well as attending an educational course on the benefits of immunization.
The initial announcement of that policy drew criticism from some physicians and health experts, who said those caring for those most vulnerable to the illness should be fully vaccinated.
The Ontario Long-term Care Association also called for mandating vaccinations for all health workers. Similarly, a coalition of some of Canada’s largest private long-term care providers introduced a policy requiring front-line employees to be vaccinated or be placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Speaking in late August, Phillips defended the province’s original approach as a “great success” and said that more than 90 per cent of long-term care workers had opted to get the shots.
On Wednesday, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, noted that Ontario has seen a recent rise in outbreaks at long-term care facilities and that the province would examine ways to curb any further transmission of the virus from workers to residents.