University Health Network employees who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine will soon have to test negative for the virus before showing up for work.

UHN spokesperson Gillian Howard tells CTV News Toronto that the hospital network is in the process of implementing a new policy which will establish strict testing requirements for unvaccinated employees with the hopes of having it fully in effect by Aug. 9.

Under the policy, all fulltime, part-time and causal staff will have to either disclose their vaccination status to Health Services or formally indicate that they don’t wish to disclose their vaccination status.

Howard says that employees who are unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their status will then be expected to take a rapid at-home test for COVID-19 and report the result at least 48 hours prior to coming to work.

Those employees will also have to participate in an education session about vaccination, though an exemption to that will be made for employees who have a documented medical reason for not being vaccinated.

“We are implementing this to keep patients and staff as safe as we possibly can,” Howard said in a statement. “The best protection for anyone is double vaccination which has been made available to all employees of UHN.”

Howard said that the University Health Network has been communicating with employees about the new policy since June.

She said that between 85 and 90 per cent of all employees are vaccinated, meaning that the testing requirement will only impact a minority of its workforce.

As of July 12, about 18,000 staff had fulfilled the reporting requirement and 750 home test kits had been distributed.

UHN oversees a number of downtown hospitals, including Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.