Tay residents can breathe a sigh of relief if they go to municipal offices these days.
CAO Lindsay Barron spoke to Tay council regarding the province’s vaccination certificate rollout this week, which garnered comments and concerns during the regular meeting.
“At this time, we have good confidence that the majority -- and when I say majority, I mean 95% or 97% of our staff -- are vaccinated,” Barron announced. “We also informally surveyed our volunteers, and a high percentage of them are also vaccinated.”
Staff and volunteer firefighters provided Barron with confirmation of high levels of vaccination within Tay operations through informal discussions, without the issue needing to be enforced.
Barron was also part of a meeting last week with other North Simcoe CAOs with them looking at a collective group of vaccination policies and procedures being drafted, as tailored to each of the municipalities' own unique needs and requirements.
“We are continuing to discuss with our neighbours as well the appropriateness of a policy, taking our diverse situations of the makeup of our services in consideration, in what facilities and operations would make the most sense to enforce,” said Barron.
Recreation programs provided a good example of workplace policy, Barron explained.
“Under the province’s passport, participants would need to be vaccinated," she said. "It only makes sense that the instructor would be vaccinated as well, given the nature of the activity.”
Coun. Sandy Talbot shared that the policy draft was a good move, stating that “the world needs to be taken care of” right now.
“Our staff too,” added Talbot. “Our staff gets sick, and then the insurance premiums are exorbitant, and then you have somebody who has lingering effects from getting COVID; then it’s very costly.
“I also said to the Mayor (Ted Walker), ‘All that starts from the top, and we are supposed to be the leaders in our areas.' That we’re vaccinated as the leaders, I hope that the expectation is the same for staff as it is for council,” said Talbot.
Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle posed a hypothetical scenario to Barron and asked for her opinion.
“What happens if I’m a vaccinated individual and my fellow worker isn’t; is there a potential for the right to refuse work because it’s an unsafe environment? Do we run that risk?,” asked LaChapelle.
Barron hesitantly replied, “I don’t have a definite answer for you, but generally I would say they probably have a right to refuse.”
A draft vaccination policy is expected to come before council at next month's regular meeting.
Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca