COVID-19 vaccine information

A woman getting a bandage after a vaccination

As we continue welcoming more students and employees to campus, we’re focused on keeping our learning settings as safe as possible while minimizing disruption.  

We respect the expertise of the scientific community and support the position that vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19.    

George Brown’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy 

All students, employees, contractors, volunteers and visitors coming onto college premises are required to be fully vaccinated. See the FAQs below for an explanation of what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  

The college will abide by its commitments under the Ontario Human Rights Code and consider accommodation requests based on medical and/or religious/creed grounds. 

read the full vaccine policy

Providing proof of full vaccination

Students and employees have two options for providing proof of full vaccination when they arrive on campus. They can show one of the following: 

  • Synergy Gateway COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance Card (visit the Vaccine Verification page for details). Synergy Gateway is a secure third-party provider of vaccination verification services to George Brown College. 
  • Ontario’s Vaccine Certificate, also known as the QR code vaccine passport. You can download your certificate on the Government of Ontario’s website

Find more details on the Vaccine Verification – Students and Vaccine Verification – Employees pages.   

Where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available across Ontario. You can book an appointment at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine.  

If you received your vaccinations in Ontario, you can download your vaccine receipts at covid19.ontario.ca. International students who need help in obtaining their official vaccination documents can contact the International Centre for assistance. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy FAQS 

Where can I view the vaccination policy? 

The vaccination policy can be viewed online here.

 How long will the vaccination policy be in effect? 

The policy will be in effect until further notice, and subject to review every six months, or earlier if required in order to adhere to emerging public health and government directives. 

Why is George Brown making COVID-19 vaccinations a condition of being on campus?

We are committed to maintaining safe learning, working and living environments for all members of the college community. In order to protect our community, we have implemented a COVID-19 vaccination policy for students, employees and visitors accessing campus.   

The policy states that full vaccination is required for everyone coming to campus as of November 1, 2021. The policy follows instructions and guidance from the scientific community and government, and we are confident with that direction. 

My program is fully online and I do not need to come to campus. Do I need to be vaccinated? 

We strongly encourage all members of the college community to get vaccinated. However, George Brown College’s vaccination policy only applies to those who are accessing the college premises for in-person teaching, learning activities, work requirements or as a visitor. 

How will my personal health information be protected?

The collection of personal information within the scope of this policy is authorized by section 2 of the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act. The college will use the information it collects to control entry to college premises and for related health and safety purposes and will store it securely and in accordance with the freedom of information and protection of privacy act.   

Vaccination verification is being administered through a secure third-party service provider –called Verified by Synergy Gateway. Personal medical information is not shared with the college.   

Find more information about Verified by Synergy Gateway and George Brown’s vaccine verification process on the Vaccine Verification page

Isn't requiring a vaccination a violation of human rights? Can the college really do this? 

The Ontario Human Rights Code has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more details on rights and responsibilities on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website.  

We strongly encourage you to read the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates, issued on September 22, 2021.

If George Brown's vaccine policy isn't legislated, how can the college make vaccinations mandatory?

The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) Policy Statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates indicates that: 
  
While receiving the 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. 

A policy is not law so how can the college enforce the vaccine policy? 

The college is not enforcing a law. The college is enforcing a policy created to safeguard students and employees from harm. The policy, among other college policies, is a rule of engagement for students and employees. Individuals have a right to choose not to receive the vaccine, however, choosing not to do so will have consequences.

How is the college going to enforce this? 

Verification of vaccination will be required at the entry points to campus premises. Falsification of verifications or presentation of associated fraudulent documentation could result in disciplinary action under the college’s codes of conduct.  

Find more information about Verified by Synergy Gateway and George Brown’s vaccine verification process on the Vaccine Verification page.

What if I don't want to get vaccinated and I don't qualify for exemption?

Registered students must show proof of full vaccination to gain access to our campuses. If you do not show proof of vaccination through Synergy Gateway, and you are not eligible for an exemption, you will not be given access to any George Brown campus. The college will not accept the provincial verification – you must have verification through Synergy Gateway. You can find the instructions on the Vaccine Verification page.

As there has been sufficient time since the policy’s announcement for you to receive your vaccination, it is expected that you are fully compliant with the policy by November 1, 2021, in order to come to campus. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, we encourage you to reach out to your academic program coordinator to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation that may be made until you are fully vaccinated. Note that doing so is not an alternative to not being fully vaccinated. Academic programs may not be able to reasonably accommodate additional needs if your vaccination has been delayed.

Please note that November 5, 2021, is the last day full-time students registered for the Fall 2021 semester are able to withdraw from their program with no academic penalty. Domestic students should note that withdrawing from your program will affect your financial aid (OSAP) status. Equally, international students should note that withdrawing from your program will affect your eligibility for your study permit.

 

Vaccine information

If I have had COVID-19 how long do I have to wait before getting vaccinated?

Information about this is available on the City of Toronto’s COVID-19: About the Vaccines webpage.
 
People who have had COVID-19 in the past should still get vaccinated. Natural immunity from having COVID-19 may not last long and may not protect against COVID-19 variants. Get vaccinated to stay protected.
 
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, should not go to a vaccine clinic. Please wait at least 10 days until you are no longer in self-isolation or your symptoms have gone away.

How long do COVID-19 vaccines last?

For the general population, two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provides strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization. This includes protection against the Delta variant of concern. Research shows that certain people with low immune response can benefit from a third dose. The Ministry of Health has COVID-19 Vaccine Third Dose Recommendations for select populations who have an increased risk of COVID-19 infection. Recommendations for boosters/third doses may evolve as evidence on COVID-19 vaccines evolve.

What if I already have COVID-19 antibodies?

The college requires full vaccination in order to access campus. Having had COVID-19 does not provide medical grounds for an exemption.


Vaccination status

What does fully vaccinated mean? What vaccines will George Brown accept? 

George Brown College follows the Government of Ontario’s definition of full vaccination. A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:  

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines, 
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or 
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and 
  • They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.  

Four COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized for use by Health Canada: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech. 

International students who need help obtaining their official vaccination documents can contact the International Centre for assistance. 

I received one or both of my COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario. How can I find a record of my vaccination?

In Ontario, you can download your vaccination receipt from the province’s COVID-19 website. In other provinces and countries, please check with your local health authorities for more information. 

I was vaccinated outside of Canada. How do I show proof? 

To show proof of your vaccination through Verified by Synergy Gateway, the secure third-party platform George Brown College is using, you must provide official vaccine documents that are transcribed in English that contain the following: 

  • Your name 
  • Vaccination date 
  • Vaccine name 
  • Dose number 

International students who need help in obtaining their official vaccination documents can contact the International Centre for assistance. 

Contact the International Centre 

Shouldn't everyone get rapid tests since both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can transmit COVID-19?

The college is following the science, which shows that vaccination is the best prevention against the spread of COVID-19. By having all individuals on campus fully vaccinated, this risk is reduced significantly.

I have not been vaccinated but would like to be. What do I do? 

Vaccines are widely available across Ontario.  

You can also book a vaccine in Ontario by visiting covid-19.Ontario.Ca/book-vaccine and following the steps. 


Accessing campus

How do I show proof that I'm fully vaccinated?

Visit the Vaccine Verification page for more information.

If I am fully vaccinated, do I still need to complete the active daily health screening each time I come to campus? 

Yes. This is a requirement by Toronto Public Health, and active screening will continue. 

Screening needs to be done every time you come to campus.  You can find the screening at georgebrown.ca/screen.  

Do I need to be vaccinated if I am picking up something from campus and staying outside (e.g., purchases from the Bookstore)? 

You do not need to be vaccinated if you are staying outside for curb-side pick-up, though we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your community. 

Will PPE still be required on campus?

Yes. Everyone on campus must wear all required personal protective equipment (PPE). Masks must be worn everywhere on campus unless you are in a designated eating area. Eye protection is also required in closed spaces such as classrooms, labs, clinics, shops and offices, or when working in close contact with another individual in an open space. Disposable three-layer masks and face shields are distributed at campus entrances for anyone who needs one.  

Plexiglass barriers are also in place in various areas around campus. 

For more information please visit our Health and Safety on Campus page


Campus visitors (contractors, members of the public)

How do contractors confirm their vaccination status?

Contractors will only be granted access to campus if they have provided proof of full vaccination to their employer.

Employees are entitled to be accommodated under the Human Rights Code. Regarding accommodation, the college will permit entry to those employees who have been granted accommodation by their employer. These employees will need to be identified to the college and will also be required to submit evidence of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test that has been administered no more than 72 hours prior to entry. The college will not be providing such testing to contractors.

Find details on the Vaccine Verification page

How do visitors and members of the public access George Brown campuses?

Visitors (e.g., delivery people) and members of the public coming to campus to access the college's retail enterprises, outlets, or service operations must show proof of full vaccination or a verified medical exemption (documentation from a physician or registered nurse).   

Visitors and guests may provide:

  • Ontario’s Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Passport (QR Code)
  • Government-issued proof of vaccination. If the originating document is not in English, a notarized translation must be provided.

Proof of vaccination is required for members of the public accessing the following college services: 

  • Chef on the Run 
  • Spa services offered by the School of Makeup and Esthetics 

Find details about these services, including locations and hours of operation, on the Services for the Public page


Residence, varsity athletics and work-integrated learning

If I’ve already signed an attestation (related to The George residence or varsity athletics) do I still need to provide proof of vaccination? 

Yes. 

I will be living in residence, but my courses will be online. Do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes. We require full vaccination for those living in residence at The George. 

What if I’m a student on a work-integrated learning placement? 

Students participating in in-person work-integrated learning and/or placements (virtual placements are excluded) must show verification of full vaccination. 


International students

I am an international student and have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and travel to Canada. Who do I contact? 

Please visit our International Students Traveling to Canada page for more information.  

As an international student, can I get vaccinated when I arrive in Ontario? 

Yes. You can also book appointments online with the province at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or through your local health unit. 

I am an international student who just arrived in Ontario, and I have yet to be vaccinated. Can I study on campus? 

All students must show proof of full vaccination to access campus.   

Learn more on the Vaccine Verification page

You can find vaccine clinics across Ontario at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.

I'm a fully vaccinated and not required to quarantine when I arrive in Canada. Am I able to access college buildings right away?

George Brown College is guided by the protocols set by the Government of Canada. As such, if you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days AND you have NOT been advised to quarantine per the federal quarantine requirements, you are welcome on our campuses if you follow our vaccine policy. 

You will need to show proof of full vaccination to access college campuses. 

Learn more on the Vaccine Verification page.  


Employees 

My manager has confirmed I will be working from home until January. Can I wait until I am scheduled to return to campus to provide my proof of vaccination? 

We are strongly encouraging all employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible. There may be the occasion where operational changes may result in some employees being called back to campus prior to January.  

What if I’m a college employee working at an off-site location where I oversee student clinical work? Does the policy apply to me?

Yes. This policy applies to all facilities and premises owned by, or contracted for use by, George Brown College, or where George Brown College programming is delivered, referred to as “college premises.”


Accommodations and exemptions 

I require a creed/religion-based accommodation. What steps do I take?

The college will accommodate individuals based on medical or religious/creed grounds in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.   

People requesting a religious/creed exemption from the college’s vaccine policy must complete and submit George Brown College’s Vaccine Exemption form

A response can be expected within five business days.

I want to request a medical accommodation. What steps do I take? 

When you log in to the Verified by Synergy Gateway platform, follow the steps to download the form for a medical exemption.  

A response can be expected within five business days.  

Please visit the Vaccine Verification page for more information and  Synergy Gateway’s online help desk with questions. 

How can I get an accommodation that’s not related to medical or religious/creed grounds?

Please note: accommodations will be considered within the scope of the policy. The policy only allows for accommodations on the grounds stated in the section “accommodations.” This means that if someone doesn’t want to get vaccinated (for other/personal reasons), then an accommodation will not be granted. 

If you will not be on campus during the fall semester, verification of vaccination is not required.