Good morning, TeamUHN!

It is a pleasure to connect with you across care, research, and education through this weekly CEO update – all in service of A Healthier World.

Key reminders and updates

  • Welcome back from the Labour Day long weekend. Our deepest thanks as always to those who were working in service of patients and TeamUHN.
  • Thursday, September 30th, is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Government of Canada has declared this day of recognition to provide an opportunity for all Canadians to work to understand, commemorate and reflect on the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour all those affected. The Indigenous Health Program (IHP) at UHN will be hosting a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony on September 30th from 11 am to 12 pm, which will be recorded and shared. Details about the event, including location, will follow and will depend on whether it is advisable to gather outdoors at this time. While this is a federally declared day and is a statutory day off for federal employees, it has not been designated as such by the Province of Ontario. For members of TeamUHN who wish to take the day off to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, they may certainly do so by using a vacation day.
  • UHN Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) shared a graphic of UHN COVID-19 admission numbers by vaccination status since June 2021, which clearly shows that getting vaccinated is one of the best defences we have against the virus. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 puts incredible stressors on the health care system, leading to capacity issues and burnout.
  • There are ten months to go until UHN takes a large leap forward in our clinical transformation by implementing a new health information system (HIS) from Epic. Synapse is a complex and impactful project requiring many kinds of resources from across UHN. Ensuring we are optimizing resources and staying focused on achieving a safe and effective transition to the new HIS on June 4, 2022 is paramount for stakeholders. You can learn more about some of the checks and balances used in this post on the Synapse site.

Overview of last week

Submit Proof of Vaccination to Health Services Including Vaccination Receipts

  • Background: To comply with Directive #6, outlined by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer which indicates that organizations such as hospitals have the ability require vaccination, UHN will require all staff to provide documentary proof of vaccination to Health Services. Notify Health Services of your proof of COVID-19 vaccination by clicking here or copying and pasting this link into your browser (Chrome or Edge only)
  • What happened last week? By the end of last week, approximately 50% of TeamUHN have filed their vaccination status and receipts with Health Services. I filed my status last week and am pleased to say that it takes just a few minutes. My thanks to everyone who has already done so.
  • What do I need to know? You must provide documentary proof of vaccination to Health Service, which are the Dose Administration Receipts received for both first and second doses. If you do not have a copy of your receipt, please go to to download your COVID-19 Vaccine record from the Ministry of Health. Thank you to everyone who previously informed Health Services of your vaccination status in the Spring. I understand it may be frustrating to submit your vaccination status for a second time, but this is a necessary step to ensure we are compliant with Directive #6.

Ontario Health Reconvening Provincial COVID-19 Panels

  • Background: Last week, all hospital CEOs received an email from Matt Anderson, President & CEO of Ontario Health, advising that provincial panels on COVID-19 response would begin again. The panel will resume to ensure that the healthcare system can plan for a response to the rise of COVID-19 infections, which are largely due to the Delta variant.
  • What happened last week? Panels, including critical care response and long-term care response, will reconvene next week to ensure that we are all as prepared as we can be in the face of Wave 4. Preparations and discussions around a fourth wave can be disheartening, but vaccinations help immeasurably in preventing hospitalizations and now we know more about treating COVID-19 positive patients.
  • What do I need to know? There is clear evidence that infections from COVID-19 are occurring most frequently, and more severely, to people who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, which is very difficult for those in the healthcare system to hear. Since children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated, it is critical for all adults to get both doses of the vaccine so that we can best protect children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Provincial Announcement Regarding Vaccine Passports

  • Background: To further protect the province as we continue to confront the Delta-driven fourth wave of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford announced last week that there would be a vaccine passport in the Province of Ontario. The passport will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021. Full media release can be found here.
  • What happened last week? While the announcement did not include details of how vaccination certificates will be obtained, there was mention of introducing an enhanced digital vaccine receipt that features a QR code, which is safe, more secure and with you wherever you go. The province will launch a new app to make it easier and more convenient for businesses and organizations to read and verify that a digital vaccine receipt is valid, while protecting privacy.
  • What do I need to know? If you have not yet done so, you can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing your vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1 833 943 3900.

Closing notes

August 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day. In 2020, 6,214 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred in Canada, approximately 17 deaths per day. The pandemic has only worsened this ongoing public health crisis of overdoses and deaths which resulted in 5,215 opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations in Canada last year alone. At UHN, a Harm Reduction Steering Committee, including the UHN Centre for Mental Health, Social Medicine and Bioethics leadership, has been formed in an effort to raise awareness of harm reduction strategies across UHN, and facilitate the implementation of a long-term Harm Reduction Strategy across the organization. In July 2021, the Ministry of Health announced additional funding to support elements of the Toronto-based opioid response proposal put forward by the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TASHN), which includes UHN. Now more than ever, UHN recognizes the critical need to support staff, patients, families, and the community by promoting a culture of destigmatized and evidence-based care, and providing additional access to hospital-based services such as the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic and addiction consultation services. More information will become available on these initiatives as this work is developed.

September is World Arthritis Month. One in five Canadians has arthritis, a collection of conditions that cause inflammation of the joints. Arthritis represents the leading cause of long-term disability in Canada. Thanks to our colleagues at UHN's Schroeder Arthritis Institute for tackling this major challenge. As Canada's largest multidisciplinary Arthritis hub, the Institute continues to push innovation in research, care and education in four areas: Hand, Orthopedics, Osteoporosis and Rheumatology. With over 50 scientists, 100 trainees and 200 staff, the team has developed new surgical interventions for bone and joint diseases, innovative treatments for autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, and novel tools to predict the outcomes of surgical and medical treatments in arthritis.


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Have a good week,

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