No mandatory vaccination policy at Algoma University

COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for students or faculty at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie when classes resume in September. (Mike McDonald/CTV News)

COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for students or faculty at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie when classes resume in September.

This comes after Seneca College in Toronto said last week that mandatory vaccination is necessary for on-campus activity, and several universities in southern Ontario are making vaccinations mandatory for those living residence.

Brianne Pringle, Algoma's director of human resources, said the decision not to make vaccines mandatory comes after extensive community consultation.

"We did a lot of consultation with our public health, with our stakeholders within the community, and really direction coming from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Council of Ontario Universities," said Pringle.

"We'll continue to follow public health directives and ensure our community is safe … And there's more than just that vaccine piece that we have to look at, even for those that are vaccinated. So that's making sure that when distancing is still required, distancing is required and that masks are required and capacity limits are required."

The president of the Algoma University Student Union said a mandatory vaccination policy would particularly impact one group of students.

"That would very much disproportionately affect our international students," said Rebekah Gwynn. "A lot of our students are coming from way overseas -- we have a lot of students coming from India specifically. And many of the vaccines available there in those countries aren't necessarily part of the big four that Canada wants."

Still, Gwynn said the student union encourages students to get vaccinated.

"The student union is actually quite pleased with the way the university is handling (this)," she said. "We'd also like to very much encourage everyone to get vaccinated whenever possible, as long as it's safe for you to do."

Officials at Algoma University said information on vaccines will be made available to students along with where to get their shot if they choose to get vaccinated.