Ontario to open vaccinations to include frontline retail workers - Retail Council of Canada
Coronavirus | Ontario

Ontario to open vaccinations to include frontline retail workers

May 6, 2021

UPDATE MAY 10, 2021: Booking for vaccines is expected to open May 11, 2021 for Group 2 of workers who cannot work from home including grocery store, restaurant and transportation workers).

Based on Ontario’s anticipated rollout schedule for vaccinations, released on April 29, 2021, Ontario is expected to give all frontline retail workers who cannot work from home, the ability to register for vaccinations (eligible under Group 1 and Group 2). We are sending this advanced notice out in an effort to prepare employers.

Retail distribution centre workers are eligible under the following clause:

  • Group 1 – Essential workers in a food manufacturing and/or distribution centre who cannot work from home.

Retail employees working in a store, either in an essential retail setting or in a non-essential retail setting:

  • Group 2 – Essential workers who cannot work from home, including grocery, foodbank, non-clinical pharmacy workers, restaurant, LCBO workers, wholesalers and general goods.
    • The term ‘general goods’ is a broad one. RCC understands this to include non-essential retailer employers who continue to attend the work place to operate curbside sales. For futher clearify, it is RCC’s understanding that employees who are currently laid-off, or on the IDEL leave do not meet this definition.
    • RCC is working with the Solicitor General’s office to understand how expanded eligibility interacts with a potential broader reopening (likely, regionally) of retail on May 20, 2021. In other words, as retail employees come off lay-offs and IDEL leave.

Each Ontario Public Health Unit runs its own booking system for vaccinations. As a way to direct all members and their employees, RCC encourages employers to share Ontario’s Vaccine Booking Tool. This tool will not allow the employee to book, but will provide the employee with a phone number for their health unit, as well as a web link to the Health Unit’s vaccination registration page under the “additional resources” section. All employees should follow the link under the “additional resources” section, and complete the online registration tool for their individual health unit.

While most (but not all) Health Units are operating on an ‘honour system’ for vaccinating essential workers in Group 1 and Group 2, members should plan to issue a short letter to employees indicating proof of employment along with an attestation that the employer cannot work from home, rendering them eligible under either Group 1 (DC workers) or Group 2 (retail workers).


This past Wednesday, RCC hosted Bruce Anderson, the Chairman of Abacus Data, to provide the latest research on vaccine hesitancy across Canada. Bruce shared in his slide deck that a number of free materials will be made available in English and French to support companies in overcoming employee vaccine hesitancy. RCC will share these documents with members as soon as Abacus finalizes the creative.

Pour en savoir plus, veuillez communiquer avec :

Sebastian Prins
Directeur, Relations gouvernementales (Ontario)
416 467-3759