With a view to boosting economic activity in the province, some of Ontario’s largest employers are contributing to vaccination efforts by hosting public clinics and donating time and money while others promote vaccine safety to their employees and offer paid time off to workers getting the shots.
Earlier this month, the Ontario Vaccination Support Council, a subgroup of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), launched an online portal for businesses to volunteer their own resources and has so far received more than 250 offers of help. The aim is to give public health units (PHUs) a sense of what assistance is available in their local communities — for example, space for mass clinics, freezers to store vaccines or the donation of taxi chits to help seniors or people with disabilities get to vaccination sites.
“We’re not creating a portal for people to sell their services, this is all about who can volunteer what,” said James Scongack, executive vice-president of corporate affairs at Bruce Power, who is co-chairing the vaccination council.
Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the OCC, said this is partly borne of frustration with the slow rollout of vaccines in the province and across the country, particularly when the United States, Canada’s biggest trading partner, is moving much faster.
Canada has administered almost four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and close to nine per cent of the population has received at least one dose. But recent international comparisons show it is not even in the top 40 countries in terms of per capita vaccinations. More than 120 million people, or 25 per cent of the population, have received at least one dose in the U.S.
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