City of Burlington preparing COVID-19 vaccination policy for all its employees

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Published August 24, 2021 at 4:40 pm

The City of Burlington could soon be the first municipality in the province to require all of its employees to be fully vaccinated.

The City announced it is preparing a COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy applicable to all City staff, regardless of work location.

This policy will require all City staff to show proof of vaccination, and provide reasonable time for staff who are not yet fully vaccinated to do so, with some exceptions for those who are legally entitled to accommodation.

For City employees who have not yet vaccinated, Rapid Antigen Testing will be required prior to entry into the workplace.

An update on this new policy will be brought to the Sept. 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee meeting.

During the meeting, the City will also be looking into a potential vaccine policy for the public entering City facilities to help protect staff and the public.

“The City of Burlington is committed to the health and safety of its staff and visitors from the public who may interact with staff, ” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “The City will also be looking at a public policy that will come to Committee and Council in September – I look forward to that discussion with my Council colleagues and hearing from the community.”

The City maintains the health and safety of staff and residents continues to be a top priority and, as an employer, it says it has an obligation under Ontario law to take all necessary precautions to protect its workers.

They also said they will be encouraging contractors and partners of the City to do the same in order to protect their staff, their employees and the public.

“Our number one goal throughout this pandemic has been and continues to be focused on keeping all Burlington staff and residents safe while working to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Tim Commisso, City Manager. “Bringing in a vaccination policy for our staff is another step we have taken to meet that goal.

“The City will comply with its human rights and privacy obligations and accommodate employees who are legally entitled to accommodation, while protecting staff.”

While science continues to support the effectiveness of vaccinations in this pandemic, Meed Ward says she understands there is some apprehension about a required proof of vaccine.

Still, this is not a new concept in Canadian society.

“Proof of vaccination against at least nine different illnesses such as polio and meningitis has been mandatory for Ontario children attending public elementary school for many years,” Meed Ward added. “We are already seeing healthcare settings, post-secondary schools, private sector businesses and other municipalities across the country implementing these policies to help protect our communities and our health care capacities.”

The Burlington Mayor explains where there are special circumstances, exemptions are provided.

“Though you can still contract and spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated, we’ve heard from our local medical and health staff the infectious period is shorter and it’s less likely you’ll need hospital care, ” she continued. “Currently in Ontario, more than 90 per cent of people in hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.”

 

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