Influenza (The Flu) Information for Businesses

Influenza (commonly known as “the flu”) is a respiratory infection caused by influenza A and B viruses. It infects the nose, throat and lungs. People of any age can get the flu. This web page provides information and links to resources about influenza for local businesses.

 

Why is it important for businesses to have employees receive the flu vaccine?

  • Along with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario, the Halton Region Health Department is encouraging Halton businesses to participate in Ontario’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program for their workforce this fall.
  • Absenteeism, interruption of service, and health benefit costs are all real challenges employers must face when their employees get influenza (flu).
  • Flu can spread easily in the workplace resulting in lost work hours and productivity.
  • It has been estimated that the flu costs the Canadian economy about one-half billion dollars annually (Canadian Coalition for Influenza Immunization).
  • Each employee could be absent for a week, with individual productivity being affected for up to two weeks following the onset of influenza.
  • To reduce employee absenteeism due to influenza illness, the National Advisory Committee Statement on Influenza Immunization (NACI) (external PDF file) clearly advises employers and their employees to consider yearly influenza immunization for healthy working adults.

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What can Halton businesses do?

  • Promote flu immunization by distributing or posting information, adding reminders to pay stubs and correspondence and providing incentives, such as work time to attend a flu vaccination clinic, draw prizes for immunized employees, etc.
  • Refer employees for flu immunization. Flu immunization is available from family doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacies and at community flu immunization clinics throughout Halton and surrounding regions.
  • Hold workplace clinics. There are 2 ways of holding a clinic.
    1. Arrange for a health care agency to manage the clinic on your behalf. For a list of agencies closest to your location that offer services to Halton businesses, please call the Halton Region Health Department. You can then arrange for an appointment with the agency to discuss the logistics and cost of running a clinic.
      • The Halton Region Health Department is unable to provide staff for workplace clinics.
    2. If your business has qualified occupational health staff who can run the clinic your organization needs to complete an annual prequalification process set by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to participate in the Seasonal Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP). Each year the Ministry establishes the date that this process needs to be completed. While the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will provide free vaccine for workplace flu immunization clinics, businesses are responsible for associated costs. For more information on this prequalification process and influenza material:

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Downloadable Resources

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