Mayor Jim Watson wants all City of Ottawa staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and he's asked the city's manager to develop a plan to implement the new rules, according to a memo sent Tuesday afternoon.
In the letter to Steve Kanellakos, Watson says Ottawa already has one of the highest vaccination rates in Ontario and this move is in line with recent provincial and federal announcements.
"Ultimately, we are asking our staff to do something that the vast majority have already undertaken, and while it may inconvenience a few, it is our duty to ensure our staff and residents are protected," Watson said.
As of Monday, 84 per cent of eligible Ottawa residents received at least the first dose of a vaccine, while 76 per cent were fully vaccinated.
During the pandemic, Ottawa has reported a total of more than 28,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 593 related deaths.
There is fear a fourth wave could lead to a resurgence in hospitalizations in the late summer and early fall. As of Tuesday, there were four local residents in local hospitals with COVID-19, including one in intensive care.
"With more of the economy reopened, there will be more opportunity for COVID-19 to spread," Watson said in the memo.
Local public health officials also want the city to vaccinate 90 per cent of the population to combat the delta variant.
Watson's letter requests the city's important labour partners also be included in the plan's development, and he has asked Kanellakos for a draft vaccination policy and a proposed timeline before the Labour Day weekend.