Hundreds of unvaccinated City of Hamilton employees expected to be placed on unpaid leave: report

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Published November 3, 2021 at 4:25 pm

In August. of 2021, Hamilton CIty Council approved the current vaccination verification policy. Employees were given until November to receive both doses. 

The City of Hamilton’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy is in effect. Beginning Thursday (Nov. 3), all unvaccinated City of Hamilton employees will be required to undergo the mandatory COVID-19 rapid testing program.

According to the city, 317 of the city’s approximately 9,000 employees have not been fully vaccinated. They also have not picked up their free rapid testing kit from the city, meaning they will not be in compliance with the new policy in time.

“Our policy has provided City employees with a choice, while allowing the city to continue safely delivering services to the residents of Hamilton,” said Lora Fontana, Executive Director, Human Resources.

Unvaccinated employees are required to submit their rapid test results every Monday and Thursday without exception. Non-compliers will be placed on unpaid leave.

“As a result of these absences, it is possible that we will experience potential operational or service delivery challenges,” said a spokesperson for the city.

The larger pockets of non-compliance work in the following departments:

  • HSR (5.4 per cent of bus operators)
  • Hamilton Fire Department (6.1 per cent of suppression employees)
  • Public Works (6.9 per cent in waste, 8.2 per cent in parks and cemeteries)

“We know that our customers rely on us to get to their destinations on time and we’re doing everything we can to mitigate possible service impacts,” said Maureen Cosyn Heath, Director of Transit, Hamilton Street Railway (HSR).

“Customers are encouraged to download the HSRnow app on their devices or monitor HSR’s social media channels for up-to-date service information.”

In August, city council approved the current vaccination verification policy. Employees were given until November to receive both doses.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger added that the policy is a necessary step that will contribute to the safe reopening of community settings and support the return to work transition.

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