St. Lawrence College has said repeatedly throughout the spring and summer that a return to campus to the degree it has been planning for will not be possible if physical distancing requirements remain in place. 

October 1, 2020 

Ontario introduces the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.  Regulation 364/20 includes the rules for “Step 3” of the reopening “roadmap”. The regulation includes criteria for social distancing and related capacity limits.

August 1, 2021 

The Regulation in its most recent form is dated August 1, 2021; as of August 25, 2021, this version is still in effect.  It includes provisions for social distancing and related capacity limits for a multitude of different sectors/businesses, including a specific section for post-secondary institutions that, under Step 3, must continue to require social distancing and maintain corresponding capacity limits—just as for the multitude of other sectors/businesses, as listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation.

Tuesday, August 17:  

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, Kieran Moore, clearly stated that “we are pausing our exit from the roadmap to reopen…” (See minute 5:45)  “Pausing” reopening means staying in Step 3 of the roadmap—maintaining physical distancing and limiting capacities in order for distancing to be possible, including for all post secondary institutions.

Wednesday, August 18 (posted August 19): 

In an interview follow-up to the news conference on August 17 (see at minute 4:55), Kieran Moore Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, Kieran Moore, stated that while Ontario’s immunization rate is good, “…we can do better in the face of delta. And we absolutely need to. Otherwise, we will see what other jurisdictions are seeing; we’ll see an uptick in hospitalizations and patients in the intensive care unit.  And to me, all of this is preventable and I hence have requested this pause in moving out of Step 3 so that we up our protection at a population level.” 

Monday, August 23:

David Fisman resigned from the Ontario covid roundtable, stating that the province was not sharing “dire” modelling for the fall.

The Toronto Star published a list of post-secondary institutions and their vaccine policies. While many institutions are requiring proof of vaccination, St. Lawrence College is asking for “attestation.”

Tuesday, August 24: 

St. Lawrence College (Cornwall campus) tells its employees via email that “…meetings are being scheduled to be virtual…. As of today, Ontario remains under “Phase 3” restrictions, which include active screening at controlled campus entry points, and social distancing continues to be required.”

How do you refuse unsafe work? 

While we are faced with a generally safe workplace in normal times, COVID has presented us all with a unique challenge. Health and Safety is something that we often take for granted. Because of this most of us are not familiar with the fundamental rights that every worker has in the province of Ontario:

  • The Right to Know. Workplace Hazards must be identified through programs like WHMIS etc.
  • The Right to Participate. Health and Safety Committees are a right of workers.
  • The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work. This is so important to all of us right now. This right is an individual right and is based on your personal assessment of a particular risk or unsafe situation that you may find yourself in. If you find yourself in a situation that does not feel safe you have the right to refuse that work. There are significant responsibilities placed on the employer and the workers representative on the JHSC to investigate and resolve the matter. There can be no repercussions or reprisals for a worker who exercises that right.

If you have any questions about this or are concerned about your workplace safety or anyone else’s workplace safety, please talk to the members of the committee on your campus.

Sara Craig –
Angie Dukelow –
Mark Weldon –

Jennifer Bonneville –
Michael Guy –
Robbie Renaud –

Grant Currie –
Lidia Dorosz –
Karen Weisbaum –

Questions we still have for management: 
How can faculty maintain social distance in classrooms that are at or near capacity?
How can faculty provide hands-on instruction, regardless of class size, and maintain social distance?
What is the college’s authority to collect and use the personal health information being collected via the requirement for vaccine attestation? Other than confirming immunization status, what else will this information be used for going forward?
What policies and procedures are in place for ensuring best practices for privacy and security in managing vaccination information? Where can faculty/staff find copies of these policies? (Access of this kind is also a best practice and a legislative requirement.)

If the Delta variant is in the community, shouldn’t everyone be getting tested upon entry?

Will faculty have time on their SWFs to change their courses to accommodate changing from remote delivery to face-to-face and back to remote delivery?