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Hamilton-Wentworth school board mandates vaccination for employees, volunteers

HWDSB sets mandatory vaccination policy. File / The Canadian Press

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) now has a mandatory vaccination policy.

At Monday’s school board meeting, trustees voted to require all 7,251 employees, service providers and volunteers to provide proof of vaccination. Employees can seek approval for exemptions under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Over 6,600 had disclosed their vaccination status as of Sept. 10 and of the staff reporting, 82.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.

HWDSB chair Dawn Danko says this policy goes beyond the provincial requirements, and mandates a vaccination.

Read more: Back-to-school online learning numbers higher in Ontario’s COVID-19 hot spots

“The additional step here is that now we’ve made vaccinations for COVID-19 mandatory and for any employee that is not fully vaccinated, they would have to go through an exemption process to get approval,” Danko says.

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“If the employee doesn’t get that approval under the Human Rights Code, which includes medical, religious or ideological reasons, they could be restricted from going to board locations,” she adds.

She says, eventually, it could mean going on unpaid leave.

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