A message from our Board of Directors Regarding the Recent Vaccine Mandate

Following a similar announcement by Athletics Canada, on September 13, 2021, AO announced that it would require all individuals, ages 12 and older, eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to provide proof of double-vaccination in order to participate or attend Athletics Ontario sanctioned indoor and outdoor track, cross country and other events and activities (those with legitimate medical exemptions must provide proof of eligibility and a negative COVID-19 test result within 72-hours of the start of the event/activity).

Subsequent to this announcement, AO has received some comments and concerns from members regarding this decision.  Paul Osland, Chief Executive Officer of AO, has shared those comments with AO’s Board of Directors.

During an AO Board of Directors meeting on Monday, September 27, 2021, the Board reviewed and discussed these comments.  Subsequent to this discussion, the Board reaffirmed AO’s earlier decision to require all participants at AO sanctioned events and activities to provide proof of double-vaccination.

While AO’s policy goes beyond the restrictions imposed by the Government of Ontario, we believe they are aligned with the broader direction of the provincial and federal governments and public health authorities to encourage all eligible citizens, including 12 to 17-year-olds, to be immunized against the COVID-19 virus as the most effective means of combatting this pandemic.

AO’s policy is intended to protect all participants, of all ages and vulnerabilities, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, against this terrible virus.  This policy is intended to reduce the risk of spreading the virus at AO events, including the spread from vaccinated to unvaccinated individuals.  This is particularly important considering the prevalence and growth of new variants.

By reducing risks, we are not only helping to reduce the spread of the virus in our communities but also helping to ease the pressure on our health services, hospitals and front-line workers.  Such measures will also ultimately help our governments reduce restrictions related to COVID-19 and prevent further lockdowns.

As the pandemic evolves, the AO Board of Directors will continue to monitor the situation and revise our policies as required.

Dean Hustwick
President and Chair of the Board of Directors

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