Mississauga stops short of outright COVID-19 vaccination mandate for City workers

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Published August 26, 2021 at 1:53 pm

The City of Mississauga is taking a less aggressive approach with its COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees than some neighbouring municipalities, stopping short of an outright mandate.

Instead, Mississauga is telling its 7,000 employees and volunteers that they must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 31, or face regular testing for the virus.

Other municipalities, including Toronto and Pickering, aren’t offering regular testing as an alternative to full vaccination.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said at a press conference earlier today that her city’s plan is to move forward with a “vaccination program, not a mandatory vaccination policy.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of Mississauga has been a leader in implementing public health measures to protect employees and the residents we serve,” said Crombie. “We continue to encourage residents and employees to get vaccinated. It’s one of our best lines of defence against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. As an employer and the operator of many front-line services, the City of Mississauga has a duty to ensure we create a safe working environment.”

Those among the City’s workers, in addition to volunteers, who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 will be subject to routine COVID testing before being allowed to enter the workplace. Employees or volunteers with valid claims for accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be accommodated, City officials say.

“The health and safety of our employees, along with our community has been our top priority from the start of this pandemic,” said City Manager Paul Mitcham. “This policy will help us keep our workplaces safe as vaccines provide a high level of protection against COVID-19 and help us combat the pending fourth wave of this pandemic.”

Moving forward from today, workers must disclose to the City their vaccination status between Sept. 15-23, or request a human rights exemption. Those who are not vaccinated or have not provided the City with a valid human rights exemption must participate in an education session and they have until Oct. 31 to again disclose their status.

As of Nov. 1, if any employees choose not to disclose their status or have not been fully vaccinated, they’ll have to provide the City with proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter their workplace.

Shari Lichterman, the City’s commissioner of corporate services, said the City’s 2,000 or so office employees who’ve been working from home will return to their offices in stages in the coming months.

The remaining 5,000 workers have been working on-site, as their jobs demand.

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