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COVID-19: New policy requires City of Guelph staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested

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Employment lawyer, Lior Samfiru, shares legal rights and advice for employees in the face of increasing vaccine mandates from employers. – Aug 20, 2021

The City of Guelph says it is implementing a new policy that requires all staff to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status or get tested for the virus on an ongoing basis.

Along with paramedics, the new rule also applies to members of city council and the Guelph Public Library as well as contractors and volunteers working for the city.

Read more: City of Toronto will require all employees to have both COVID-19 vaccine shots by Oct. 30

“Many of our office-based staff are still working from home, but others don’t have that option because they’re enforcing our bylaws, mowing fields and taking care of our parks or sorting our garbage,” said CAO Scott Stewart.

“Regardless of where folks are working, we do hope to bring people back together in office spaces, at council meetings and for engagement, and whether that’s sooner or later, we need to make sure we’ve done our part to keep our employees and our community safe.”

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Any staff member who chooses not to receive the vaccine will need to complete training about the benefits and safety of vaccinations.

The city added that any staff member who still chooses not to get vaccinated, and cannot work from home, will need to get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis.

Staff with medical, religious or other valid reasons related to the Human Rights Code will be exempted and the city said it will make work accommodations for these employees.

But individuals with exemptions who need to work at a city facility will also need to get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis.

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“I am one hundred per cent in support of this,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie.

“We will continue to do whatever we can to keep everyone in our community safe and requiring the people who deliver public services to be vaccinated just makes sense.”

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The policy comes into effect Aug. 30 and staff will have until Oct. 15 to show proof of their vaccination status.

“We hope to see many other organizations in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph follow the example of the City of Guelph,” said medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer.

“Policies like this will be essential to drive further vaccination in our community and limit community spread this fall.”

Read more: No plans yet for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for Waterloo and Guelph police

The Guelph Police Service said earlier this week that it is not currently mandatory for its members to be vaccinated, but its senior leadership team is continually monitoring the situation.

The University of Guelph says anyone who intends to enter its buildings on campus must register their proof of a COVID-19 vaccination before the fall semester begins.

The Ontario Hockey League, which includes the Guelph Storm, previously announced that all spectators and other event attendees to show proof of full immunization. That announcement came after the league announced that everyone from players to billets would also have to been vaccinated.

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