County of Wellington introduces COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees

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The County of Wellington says all employees must disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status by Sept. 22 as part of its new policy.

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated by Oct. 23 will need to undergo regular rapid tests for the disease, the county said in a news release on Thursday.

Read more: New policy requires City of Guelph staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested

The statement did not say how often unvaccinated employees would have to be tested, but it did add that employees may have to pay for each antigen test, subject to any applicable laws and reasonable practices.

“Public health data shows that the Delta variant poses a significant risk to those who are unvaccinated, including children under the age of 12,” said Warden Kelly Linton.

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“With the rising cases of COVID-19 in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and across the province, the County has decided that we must do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the public we proudly serve.”

The county said legitimate medical exemptions will be accommodated, along with any applicable legal obligations under the Human Rights Code.

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Guelph announced a similar vaccine mandate in late August. City staff have until Oct. 15 to show proof of their vaccination status.

“Vaccinations are the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people from the effects of the virus,” said Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer.

“I encourage everyone who can to get a first and second shot as soon as possible. I applaud Wellington County for taking this significant step to protect their employees and those who live in the county, particularly our children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.”

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As of Thursday, Wellington County had 18 active COVID-19 cases, including nine in Guelph/Eramosa Township.

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