Eduvation Blog

A Complex Tapestry of Vax Mandates

Good morning, and welcome to September!

Today I’m really looking forward to speaking (virtually) with the student services team at Seneca College as they gear up for the return to classes. I admire Seneca for the foresight it demonstrated way back on June 20th, when it became the first CdnPSE to announce a vaccine mandate for staff and students on campus this Fall. (They bravely sat there for 6 or 7 weeks alone in the country, too.)

Since then about 90 other CdnPSEs have followed Seneca’s lead (more or less), not to mention another 300 out of the 831 US campuses that have done so too. Sadly, the same forward-looking leadership is not in evidence everywhere…

Just when I thought I could leave the topic for a while, I’m forced to circle back and update you on what is new regarding CdnPSE Vax Mandates since my Monday issue, from east to west. It’s still a bit more complicated than I would like…



Nova Scotia

Although NSpse waited longer to start announcing vaccine mandates, institutions there have moved quite quickly (often reversing their previous positions) and now we’re at 80%…

NSCAD announced Monday that it will require either proof of full vaccination or twice-weekly proof of negative testing, from students and employees, beginning Sep 7.  NSCAD

U Sainte-Anne announced Tuesday it will require proof of vaccination or twice-weekly COVID19 tests from students and staff this Fall, starting Oct 15. Rapid tests will be available at 2 of its 5 campuses.  CBC

Saint Mary’s U announced Friday it was extending its vaccine requirement from students in residence and athletics to include everyone coming to campus. All students, employees and visitors will have to submit proof of full vaccination, or those with approved exemptions will be tested twice weekly. (This approach aligns with Dalhousie U.)  CBC  |  Global News


I’m aware of 2 exceptions…

Acadia U remains one of only two NSpses on my list without a vax mandate. Last year, their hybrid approach was remarkably successful at avoiding outbreaks, and this year they are following the PHO’s recommendation of a non-mandatory approach. President Peter Ricketts explains that ~95% of the campus population will be fully vaxxed, and that enforcing a mandate involves human rights, privacy and logistical issues. Everyone on campus will be required to wear masks, social distance, and undergo regular COVID19 testing.  Global News

U King’s College president Bill Lahey indicated last week that, although the campus community is “expected” to be fully vaccinated, UKC has not yet made vaccinations mandatory. Dalhousie U, however, has done so – and since half of UKC students take courses at Dal, and many access facilities there, UKC is “participating in discussions” with Dal about the matter.  uKings



Ontario Dithers

Remember when I said that Ontario premier Doug Ford was meeting with his cabinet yesterday to approve a “vaccine certificate” system? That was already coming WEEKS too late, especially for ONpse, but…


Ontario Scraps Media Briefing

Yesterday, Ontario CMOH Kieran Moore was widely expected to announce a proof of vaccination certificate program – but his weekly briefing was cancelled as premier Ford’s cabinet met for a third time to try to reach consensus. (Sources say that Doug Ford himself is the one unhappy with the plan.) Ontario businesses, educators, healthcare workers and epidemiologists have been urging such a plan for months now. Like BC, Ontario is expected to launch its own vaccine certificate as a temporary measure until the federal vaccine passport replaces it.  CTV  |  Globe & Mail


“While it is commendable that various organizations are moving proactively to counter the threat posed by the Delta variant, we worry this approach will create an even more complex and inconsistent patchwork of rules, creating confusion for those it’s intended to support.”Katharine Smart, president, Canadian Medical Association



ONpse Urges Action

On Monday, Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities issued a joint statement that, with just 1 week until most classes begin, they “urgently seek government guidelines that will help support strong mandatory vaccination policies, a rapid vaccine certificate program to streamline vaccine status validation and, in collaboration with local public health, greater flexibility for capacity limits and physical distancing to help ensure a safe reopening for expanded in-person learning.”  COU


Sadly, it’s not looking promising that we’ll have anything in place anytime soon, in Ontario – or in Saskatchewan, where premier Scott Moe has reiterated that his government will work with businesses that wish to require vax proof, but will not impose provincewide vax policies.



ONpse Updates

Since Monday, several more institutions have announced vax mandates or tightened their requirements…

Algoma U announced yesterday that students, staff and visitors to campus will be required to show proof of COVID19 vaccination, effective today. Those with official exemptions must show proof of a recent negative COVID19 test.  Sault Star

Algonquin College published its mandatory vaccination policy on Monday. Any campus visitor can provide digital proof of vaccination using the AC Mobile Safety app. Full vaccination is required by Oct 12.  Algonquin

Centennial College announced Monday that it will require proof of full vaccination to access campuses and satellite locations, effective Sep 7. Until Oct 6, those who are not fully-vaxxed can complete a screening and provide evidence of a negative COVID19 antigen test.  Centennial

Fleming College clarified Monday that screening is no longer an alternative to vaccination: anyone coming to campus must have a 1st dose by Sep 7 and 2nd by Oct 20. Proof of vaccination is to be uploaded using the Fleming Safe app. Authorized exemptions will require a twice-weekly rapid test.  Fleming

uGuelph announced yesterday that it is tightening its vax requirements. Anyone wishing to access campus must have a 1st dose by Sep 7 and 2nd by Oct 15, or an official approved exemption on medical or human rights grounds. Those exempted must undergo twice weekly testing. As a result, some instructors may deliver F2F courses remotely Sep 7-28.  uGuelph News

Tyndale U (Toronto) announced Friday it will be requiring anyone on campus to be vaccinated with a HC-approved COVID19 vaccine. “Exemptions based on medical, religious, conscientious or other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be accommodated.” First doses will be required by Sep 17, and 2nd doses by Oct 31. The current plan will require self-declarations but not proof of vaccination. Rapid antigen screening will continue twice weekly for everyone, vaccinated or not.  Tyndale



MBpse Updates

Booth UC (Winnipeg) announced late last week that it will require all campus visitors to be fully vaccinated, although classes are expected to be largely virtual.  Booth UC

Steinbach Bible College (MB) announced Monday that it will not implement a vax mandate, although it “strongly encourages” the community to get vaccinated. It will continue to follow provincial PHO orders.  SBC



BC Clarifications

On Monday I reported on BCAIU’s media release, which appeared to be announcing an “initiative” by its 9 member institutions. Apparently they’re not all at the same stage just yet… (I have updated the master spreadsheet accordingly.)


BCAIU Announcement

At first reading, it certainly looked as though BCAIU was collectively following the lead of BC research universities, announcing mandatory COVID19 testing for anyone who comes to campus unvaxxed this Fall. But on closer reading, BCAIU was indicating merely a collective willingness to explore the possibility, working with their campus communities and PHOs toward “additional measures… including rapid testing.” (So really, this was an announcement of pending announcements at most.)


To set the record straight, I double-checked the individual institutional positions…

U Fraser Valley reader Craig Toews clarified that UFV has not announced mandatory testing nor a vax mandate as of yet, but is currently consulting with key stakeholders and may develop its own unique approach. Currently UFV’s COVID19 page mentions only that the BC Vaccine Card will be required for “certain non-essential social and recreational gatherings and events,” and for campus housing, athletics or dining.  UFV

Capilano U says only that it is “working together toward offering additional measures… including rapid testing for our community members who have not yet been vaccinated.” It clarifies that “discussions regarding implementation of these enhanced measures will involve the Province, public health authorities, CapU administration, the Capilano Faculty Association, MoveUp and the Capilano Students’ Union.”  CapU

Vancouver Island U president Deb Saucier told the campus community Friday that VIU has worked with BCAIU to “receive approval to implement a program of vaccine self-declaration for the fall for all employees and students,” but she did not actually say that such a policy has been put in place. She continued, “there are many details that will need to be finalized before the start of the fall term,” and that they are “working through the details” in consultation with labour unions and the students’ union. (It still sounds a lot like a mandate has been announced, but it is in development.)  VIU

BCIT president Kathy Kinloch announced Friday that BCIT “will be implementing vaccine-related protocols” including “mandatory confidential vaccine reporting… and mandatory regular rapid testing” for those who are unvaxxed or choose not to share their vax status. (So this sounds a bit more definitive.)  BCIT Commons

Emily Carr U president Gillian Siddall announced Friday that ECUAD “will soon require proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for everyone on campus,” although she adds that “we will be engaging our student, staff and faculty associations in conversations about implementing these measures in a way that is safe and inclusive.” (So clearly the policy is coming, but consultations are still ongoing.)  ECUAD

JIBC does not yet mention mandatory testing or vaccination disclosure in its latest return-to-campus update. It does mention that the BC vaccine card will be required for some discretionary activities.  JIBC

Kwantlen Polytechnic U president Alan Davis announced Friday that they are “working… to explore a confidential system of vaccine self-declaration” and “working to develop a platform and process to manage your confidential data” while also discussing these measures with the faculty association, employee union and students’ association. Plans will be finalized by Sep 7.  KPU

NVIT does not yet appear to mention the initiative on its COVID19 webpage.  NVIT

Yukon U indicates only that “masks must be worn” and that “at the present time, we’re not requiring employees, students and members of the public to be fully vaccinated when accessing campus this fall.”  YukonU



On the other hand…

BC Colleges Aligned with PHO

Unlike universities, the 10 community colleges across BC are considered “agents of government” and therefore have determined that they must follow the direction of the PHO. On Friday, BC Colleges released a statement emphasizing the safety of their campus environments, and that they are implementing BC’s mask mandate in indoor common areas, and implementing the “proof of vaccination program” for campus housing, bars/restaurants, and non-educational activities. (Members are the Colleges of New Caledonia and the Rockies, and Camosun, Coast Mountain, Langara, North Island, Northern Lights, Okanagan, Selkirk, and Vancouver Community Colleges.)  BC Colleges



Again, you can consult the Insider Recap on Vaccination Policies for the whole story in chronological order.




I’m following a couple of tough acts at Seneca yesterday – both David Suzuki, and Seneca president David Agnew. Yesterday he closed out his address with this video from April, which is worth a look…


Jerusalema Dance Challenge

Seneca College’s Flight Services program has some snappy dressers with a decent sense of rhythm (and ready access to aircraft, or at least simulators), as demonstrated in this dance challenge video set to Master KG’s smash hit “Jerusalema” (with Nomcebo Zikode). ICYMI, the #JerusalemaChallenge began in Angola in Feb 2019 and has sparked entries worldwide, many apparently involving airlines. The Seneca professors and students are great sports!  YouTube



As always, thanks for reading!  

Do drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!

Stay safe and be well,



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