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

  • Last Friday, December 3, UHN announced new requirements for quarantine and testing for any member of TeamUHN returning from international travel – including the United States. Read the full message here. Given the latest developments around the COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron, it is UHN's responsibility as a healthcare institution to mitigate the risk of exposure and/or outbreaks from staff who may have travelled recently or are planning to travel over the holidays. A diagram of requirements is available here, but, in brief and effective today (Dec. 6), we are asking everyone to:
    • Notify Health Services if you plan to travel outside of Canada and pick up the rapid antigen tests you will need before your departure.
    • Upon return, UHN recommends staff to work from home for 10 days if you are able to do so – but please make these arrangements with your manager before departure.
    • For staff who cannot work from home, you will need to perform a daily rapid antigen test and report results before coming to UHN for the 10 days after your return.
    • Whether you work from home or are onsite, you must get a PCR test on Day 8 after your return to Canada. Please note that this test can only be accommodated at the Toronto Western COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
    • Learners should seek advice from the institution they are affiliated with, and Michener is making its own arrangements for staff who are travelling to report travel and pick up Rapid Antigen Testing Kits.
  • Note: Any staff who have travelled and returned to work in the 10 days before December 6 are encouraged, but not required, to notify Health Services. Testing kits are available for pick-up by travellers, once registered, through Health Services in their offices during regular office hours. If you work off-site, Health Services will work with you to get the kit to you.
  • We recognize that this is over and above what is required in the federal guidelines. My thanks to all of TeamUHN for following these additional requirements to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and colleagues in this evolving situation.
  • Detection of the Omicron variant of concern. We have recently had two cases of the Omicron variant detected, both cases had recent travel history to Africa. All of the Infection Prevention & Control protocols were followed by all members of TeamUHN, which is very good news. My thanks to all involved for keeping everyone safe while providing outstanding care to our patients. It is quite clear that Omicron is already present in Canada, and we must do everything we can to prevent its spread. Around the globe, researchers and clinicians are doing the work necessary to determine whether this variant is more or less transmissible, and more or less virulent than the Delta variant, as well as figure out how much protection is provided by the current vaccinations available to prevent serious illness. It is more important than ever to follow all of the public health protocols – masking, maintaining physical distance and ensuring that gatherings are kept very small and with the appropriate precautions. No one wants to be the bearer of this news, but it is important that everyone at UHN knows that the information we have will be communicated as quickly as possible.
  • Toronto Western's Family Health Team (TW FHT) offering paediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for TeamUHN families, Saturday, December 11. The TW FHT launched their 5-11 year-old COVID Vaccination Clinics on November 27 which have so far been a great success with 300 children vaccinated on launch day alone. Now able to accommodate around 500 children per clinic, the team has created a child-friendly environment with costumes, stickers, movies and a vaccine passport system provided by the City of Toronto which has been a huge success. Positive feedback has been plentiful for both the staff administering vaccines and the clinic's efficiency. On Saturday, December 11, the TW FHT is offering a special clinic for children of TeamUHN with 500 appointments available through this link. Anyone unable to book an appointment at the TW FHT can also consider Toronto KIDS Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday December 12 for another opportunity to have your child vaccinated.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

International Travel and UHN's Approach

  • Background: Since the beginning of the pandemic, UHN has advised all staff to follow the Government of Canada guidelines for travel and to check these guidelines both before travelling and while away. Last week, the federal government made a number of changes to the guidelines in response to reports of a new COVID-19 variant of concern called Omicron.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control)
  • What do I need to know? UHN continues to discourage travel outside of Canada, however, travel is an individual choice. Anyone choosing to travel should be aware that government travel restrictions and/or guidance may change without notice as more information about Omicron becomes available and/or a surge in cases occurs. At UHN, we are implementing additional requirements for all of TeamUHN returning from international travel, including the United States, in an effort to enhance safety for patients, visitors and TeamUHN. Full details are in the opening Key Reminders and Updates.

Third Dose Vaccinations

  • Background: Approximately 60 per cent of TeamUHN took advantage of the MaRS Third Dose Vaccination Clinics, which was available to all UHN staff. Third dose vaccination is not mandatory but strongly advised. If you would still like to get a third dose, you can do so at UHN pharmacies (call ahead for availability), at mass vaccination clinics run by Toronto's Public Health unit and through the provincial booking system.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical)
  • What do I need to know? The severity of infection and transmissibility of the COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron, is still unknown. However, in light of this new variant it is strongly recommended that all members of TeamUHN get a third dose if they have not done so already. Please remember to upload your third dose receipt to Health Services at You may need to copy and paste this link into your browser (Chrome or Edge only).

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on December 2, 2021.

Update on Master Planning and Elizabeth Street Site

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: As part of UHN's Master Plan, we will be redeveloping our Elizabeth Street property. Two hospital towers will be built to support expanded Clinical Care, Nutrition, Surgical Services, Medical Device Reprocessing, Diagnostics and Research. The space will also support a Proton Therapy Treatment Facility. Redevelopment of this site will proceed in stages and in total, take 20-25 years; however, planning for projects of this magnitude begin early. An approach to planning for the site was brought to ELF for endorsement.
  • Who presented? Rebecca Repa (EVP, Clinical Support & Performance)
  • What do I need to know? The Executive Leadership Forum will be engaged in facilitated discovery sessions to determine opportunities for UHN's clinical, research and education programs, including the planning of key supporting services in order to inform Elizabeth Street development. The sessions are tentatively planned for Fall 2022 while maintaining flexibility for our clinical transformation which will continue to be top of mind for the organization into the new year.

Q3 Performance Check In

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: People & Culture presented the plan for the Q3 performance check-in, which all managers are asked to conduct before the end of January.
  • Who presented? Michael Maguire (Senior Director, Performance & Learning)
  • What do I need to know? Due to the need for all managers and staff to focus on UHN's response to the pandemic earlier this year, the process for the 2021/22 performance review has been greatly simplified. In May/June managers worked with their team members to set goals for the year ahead, and a check in with their team members on those goals will be scheduled in Q3.

Overview of last week

Registration for Rapid Antigen Testing Kits Closed December 2

  • Background: As part of a pilot, UHN Offered Rapid Antigen Testing Kits on a volunteer basis for staff working in high-risk areas concerned about potential exposure. The kits were first offered to staff working directly with patients, however, uptake was slow with only 800 tests given out in the first week. Once the pilot was opened to all of TeamUHN, approximately 2,400 signed up in the first day. Distribution points were overwhelmed by the demand and supplies needed to be restocked each day.
  • What happened last week? Registration for the kits closed on December 2. Those who registered but have not picked up the kits will be contacted directly about when and where their kit will be available. Your UHN badge will be required at pickup points.
  • What do I need to know? Anyone who registered before the pilot closed will receive a kit. As of December 6, UHN staff are required to notify Health Services of plans to travel outside of Canada. Kits will now be prioritized to support testing as part of UHN's additional requirements for staff after returning from international travel. A reminder that, as we continue to navigate this pandemic, we continue to pivot and adapt to its many changes.

Closing notes

December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Here at UHN, our Accessibility Advisory Council, co-chaired by Dianne Barham (Talent Management, People & Culture) and Tim Tripp (Director, Library & Information Services) under the mentorship of Jacqueline Silvera (Director, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessability and Anti-Racism) is committed to promoting awareness, inclusion, and change, to support patients and members of TeamUHN alike. This past year, the council has continued to deepen its connections with FM-PRO to set standards for building renovations and construction projects that embed accessible design into all of UHN's spaces. As we continue to build A Healthier World, the council will continue to focus on the built environment as well as education and policy initiatives that address accessibility from an intersectional approach.


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Have a good week,

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