OFAI 's Mandatory COVID-19 Screening Protocols/Policies

All candidates must review OFAI’s COVID-19 screening protocols and policies below prior to booking your testing through the online testing calendar. You understand that failure to comply with OFAI’S COVID-19 screening protocols and policies could result in a cancelled test and that falsifying any information regarding our COVID-19 testing protocols could result in your expulsion from the OFAI Candidate Testing Program.   

About COVID-19

A virus known as COVID-19, is causing an outbreak of respiratory (lung) disease. The severity of this illness can vary from person to person. COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear in a few days or up to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. For some people, the symptoms are like having a cold; for others they may be severe or life-threatening. The virus is transmitted via droplets during close, unprotected contact with an infected person, or by touching an infected surface and then the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Symptoms of COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe.

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and runny nose.  Complications from COVID-19 can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure and, in some cases, death. If you have any of these symptoms, YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO TEST WITH OFAI. If you begin to feel symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate immediately and take a self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care. Only call 911 if it is an emergency.

COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre.

There are things you should do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus that causes the disease.

Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health: wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, sneeze and cough into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, avoid contact with people who are sick, stay home if you are sick.

Everyone must practice physical distancing to reduce exposure to other people — this means staying at least two metres away from anyone. You are required to use a face covering (non-medical mask such as a cloth mask or bandana) to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 while at the test facility.

All candidates must pre-screen/self-assess prior to your arrival at the test facility.  The self-assessment/screening can be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/ . You will also be required to complete screening prior to entering the testing facility.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious health threat to everyone globally.  We take the health and safety of all candidates and evaluation staff seriously.  It is your responsibility to ensure you are healthy prior to testing.  Falsifying any information related to our COVID-19 policies could result in your expulsion from the OFAI Candidate Testing Program.

**NEW** Onsite Vaccination Policy

Starting March 21, 2022, OFAI will require all CTS candidates testing on-site at the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of March 21, 2022, we will no longer accept a negative COVID-19 molecular test (PCR, RT-PCR, NAAT, LAMP) result in place of full vaccination.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic virus. Globally, and within Ontario, variants of the virus have circulated, including the current dominate strain known as the Omicron variant, which appears to have increased transmissibility when compared with previous COVID-19 virus strains.  Regardless of which SARS-CoV-2 variant is predominate in an area, vaccinations in combination with public health and individual measures, such as social distancing and properly worn masks, can  work to reduce the spread of the disease and help limit the severity of illnesses from those that catch the virus. 

The health and safety of Ontario Fire Administration Inc. candidates, and those working at the testing facility, the Greater Toronto Airports Authortity (GTAA) FESTI is our number one priority.  Both OFAI and FESTI are committed to taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the health and safety of candidates and staff from the hazards of COVID-19. Vaccines are scientifically proven to help aid in the protection against diseases such as COVID-19.  

Starting on March 21, 2022, the OFAI candidate testing program will require candidates to adhere to the GTAA COVID-19 Vaccination Policy when taking an assessment at FESTI. This policy is in accordance with GTAA policy # 01.21.01 and FESTI Student Safety Procedures 2022-01.

DEFINITIONS

  1. "COVID-19” is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a highly contagious virus that is known to affect most people.
  2. “Vaccine(s)” refers to a vaccine approved by Health Canada for use in Canada in relation to COVID-19.
  3. “Vaccination” refers to the administration of a Vaccine(s) to protect individuals from COVID-19. It may include the administration of one or more doses of Vaccine.
  4. Vaccinated” refers to having received all required doses of Vaccine and having allowed the time recommended or required to produce an immune response to COVID-19 to elapse. A person is considered to be Vaccinated 14 days after receiving (i) the second dose of a two-dose set, for those who have received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or a combination thereof; or (ii) one dose, for those who have received a Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, subject to change in accordance with public health recommendations.
Candidate vaccination requirement

As a CTS Candidate testing on-site at the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) you are required to be fully vaccinated unless you have an active medical exemption.

Medical exemptions

If you are unable to be fully vaccinated because you have an active medical exemption, you need to show the following two items in settings where proof of vaccination is required:

To obtain your medical exemption, you must:

  • ask an Ontario physician or registered nurse in the extended class to submit your exemption request directly to the public health unit where the issuer’s practice is located
  • once your exemption is accepted and entered into COVaxON by the public health unit, you’ll be able to access your enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code through the COVID-19 vaccination portal

Please note, businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as valid medical exemptions.

For additional information, please consult the Ontario Covid-19 resources:

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/proof-covid-19-vaccination#medical-and-vaccine-clinical-trial-exemptions

Privacy

FESTI and the GTAA will not copy, maintain, or keep any medical records for candidates. The “lead evaluator” for the day will view the provincially issued enhanced vaccination certificate (with QR code) for each candidate.

Additional COVID-19 Measures

This vaccination policy is in addition to existing COVID-19 measures already in place at our test facility. These measures include the following:

  • Candidates must provide your own mask, and wear it properly (good fit that covers the nose and mouth) at all times at the test facility unless otherwise directed by the evaluation team for reasons related to testing i.e. donning SCBA/V02 mask.
  • Candidates must maintain physical distancing, which means staying at least 2 metres (or 6 feet) away, from all others candidates at the test facility.
  • Candidates are required to follow the entry and exit points accordingly at the test facility, and as directed by the evaluation team.

Candidates will still be expected to comply with these measures as well as complete mandatory COVID-19 pre-screening when attending the test facility. 

Mandatory COVID-19 Pre-Screening Questions

In addition to the requirement of presenting proof of vaccination, OR a negative COVID-19 molecular test, all candidates must complete a mandatory pre-screening at our test facility prior to completing their assessment(s) . The screening questions you will be required to answer are found below. Please review these questions carefully BEFORE  attending the test facility. If you are unable to answer the questions as required,  do not book your assesssment and please contact our Administration office at 905-426-6756

For the following two questions, you must answer yes to at least ONE in order to proceed with testing. If you answer "NO" to both of these questions, you are not cleared to proceed with booking your assessment/testing and you must contact the OFAI Administration office.

  1. Are you fully vaccinated?  A person is considered to be Vaccinated 14 days after receiving (i) the second dose of a two-dose set, for those who have received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or a combination thereof; or (ii) one dose, for those who have received a Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, subject to change in accordance with public health recommendations.
  2. If you answered no to being fully vaccinated, do you have a negative COVID-19 molecular test (PCR, RT-PCR, NAAT, LAMP) result from within the last 72 hours?

For the following four questions you must clearly answer "NO" .   If your answer is "YES" to any of these questions, you are not cleared to proceed with booking your assessment/testing and you must contact the OFAI Administration office. 

Do you have one or more of the COVID-19 symptoms below? New worsening and not related to other known causes or conditions you already have:

  • Fever and/or chills - Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

3. In the last 10 days, have you tested positive on a rapid antigen test or home-based self-testing kit?

4. In the last 10 days, have you been identified as a “close contact” of someone who currently has COVID-19 (confirmed by a PCR or rapid antigen test)?If public health has advised you that you do not need to self-isolate, select “No.”

5. In the last 10 days, has someone you live with:

  • been sick with symptoms associated with COVID-19? and/or
  • tested positive for COVID-19 (on a rapid antigen test or PCR test)?

Admittance into the Test Facility

Due to COVID-19, admittance into the test facility has changed. You are now required to follow the procedure below: 

  1. Upon arrival, there will be a board located outside of the main doors at the test facility (FESTI) with a QR code. QR codes are square barcodes (two-dimensional barcodes) that provides or stores information in a machine-readable optical label. The data contained by a QR code can be anything from simple text to website links, to contact information and more.  QR codes, are scanned using the camera on any smart device.

  2. Scan the QR code with you smart device.  If you do not have a smart device, there will be an indicated button outside the main doors for you to press for further assistance. 

  3. Once the QR code is scanned, it will prompt you to open a website that contains a questionnaire. This must be completed in order to proceed with testing. Please return to your vehicle to complete these questions or, if you do not have a vehicle, find a safe location outside the facility.

  4. Complete the entire questionnaire, including the digital COVID-19 screening form. We also collect your phone number to assist with contacting you at the facility that day, and for the purpose of contact tracing. 

  5. Once the questionnaire is completed, you will be directed to remain in your vehicle (or outside location) to await further instructions from a CTS team member regarding your testing procedure.

  6. Please have a copy of your testing receipt from our office with you. Your OFAI receipt contains a barcode that is applicable to you which you will need after the above steps. A digital or printed copy is fine.

It is your responsibility to ensure you are healthy prior to testing. Falsifying information on our COVID-19 testing protocols could result in your expulsion from the OFAI Candidate Testing Program. There are no exemptions or exceptions to this policy.

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