COVID-19 vaccination advocacy

COVID-19 vaccinations: Three critical roles nonprofits play


Starting the week of April 12 in Ontario, people 18+ in COVID-19 hotspots can start booking their vaccine through their local Public Health Unit or the Provincial Booking System. This includes all nonprofit workers, volunteers, & the communities they serve.

Outside of hotspot regions, people 55+ and/or those prioritized in phase 2 can book their vaccine. The provincial system might not have as robust a list of eligible groups as local public health units, so check out both. Many essential nonprofit workers & volunteers are classified under “health care workers”. Refer to this guideline. Share with us if you notice any gaps.

We encourage nonprofit employers to practice #decentwork and give their staff and volunteers time off during work hours (current best practice = three hours) to get vaccinated or tested.

Nonprofits are doing an excellent job mobilizing right now as intermediaries and trusted sources of credible information! We see you all, leading public education awareness campaigns on vaccine hesitancy and building cross-sectoral partnerships to bring vaccines through local pop-ups/hubs to those who need it most.

Nonprofits and vaccination rollout

Photo of a woman in blue medical scrubs wearing a surgical mask and face shield injecting needle into the arm of a man wearing glasses and a surgical mask in a light orange t-shirt

The nonprofit sector is a vital partner in the vaccination rollout across Ontario to ensure that it is effective and equitable:

  • Nonprofits are a credible source of information and communication channels to promote vaccine willingness. For example, in creating public education campaigns adapted in various languages and in culturally competent ways as trusted leaders in communities.
  • Nonprofit spaces can function as community vaccination hubs. Nonprofit infrastructure spans rural, northern, and urban regions, reaching people where they are (e.g., faith spaces, recreation centres, multi-service buildings, community hubs).

As Ontario and local public health units head into Phase 2 of vaccination rollout, we want to support the sector in continuing to play these roles.

  • We also want to ensure the Ontario government includes nonprofit workers and volunteers in the Phase 2 priority group. Approximately one-third of nonprofits have stayed open during pandemic-related shutdowns, providing essential services to vulnerable populations. Workers and volunteers at these sites should be protected and prioritized for vaccination as needed, alongside those community members nonprofits are serving.

Take action today

  1. Be a resource. Share public education on vaccine willingness and vaccination support for your workers and volunteers, and for clients and community members. See our webpage for great examples
  2. Contact your local Public Health Unit or Ontario Health Team if your space can be used for vaccination hubs
  3. Advocate to government. Ask the Ontario government to clarify eligibility for front line workers and other populations and communities facing barriers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine early in Phase 2. Share our briefing note with your MPP, Ministers and local public health units.

More vaccination resources

We’ve collected some great examples from the sector to help you get started. Share your resources or recommend one with ONN via

Nonprofits doing public education

Nonprofits as vaccination hubs

Other resources

We are grateful to Definity Foundation for being a Connector+.
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