A motion set to come to council in September could lead to mandatory vaccination for all municipal staff.
During last week’s council meeting, North Kent Councillor Joe Faas said he plans to request that administration implement a policy “as soon as they are able” to ensure employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“There’s a bit of urgency in doing this,” said Faas. “The best way to prevent COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in Canada is to increase population immunity through vaccinations.”
Faas sought to bring the matter forward at council but did not receive enough support from his fellow councillors to waive the normal notice of motion process.
However, David Taylor, the municipality’s Director of Legal Services, suggested council might wish to receive detailed information from a legal and human resources perspective before discussing the matter further.
Mandatory vaccination for staff is not new. In fact, other municipalities, including Windsor, have enacted such guidelines.
With a unanimous vote during a special council meeting last week, Windsor city councillors directed administration to draw up a mandatory workplace vaccination policy for all city employees, who would also have the option to submit to bi-weekly testing.
“In order to take a leadership role, we wanted to make sure that, from a city council perspective, that administration was preparing a policy,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens.
The Windsor Mayor said there is a responsibility as an employer to make sure employees are coming to work with the “best protection,” which is being vaccinated or undertaking testing that shows that they are free of the virus before they go into the workplace.
Chatham-Kent Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire said municipal officials in Chatham-Kent had begun working on vaccination policies for municipal employees, but there is no official policy in place right now.
At that time, Shropshire said localized policies would be mandated no later than the first week of September.
The motion will come before council on September 13.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News