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Calgary police COVID-19 vaccination policy to come ‘quite soon’: Neufeld

The Calgary Police Service headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Work on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Calgary Police Service employees is still underway, CPS Chief Mark Neufeld said Tuesday.

“The announcement will come quite soon.”

The police chief said CPS has been working on a vaccination policy in concert with unions and associations.

“There’s a number of important considerations that have been raised by employees and unions, the city themselves in terms of their operations and of course, context-specific considerations for our service,” Neufeld said.

Read more: Unvaccinated Calgary firefighters or police ‘completely unacceptable’: Woolley

Earlier in September, City of Calgary manager David Duckworth told city council that city employees will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

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With the city a signatory on collective agreements and some city employees working in CPS, Neufeld stressed the importance of creating a policy that’s in harmony with the city’s.

“I think it will be coordinated with the city, but really, it’s not about coming out together with (our policies). It’s more just about making sure that we’re engaging meaningfully with the folks that this really matters to, because it’s an important topic. “

Read more: City of Calgary launches vaccine vans, outreach program

Neufeld said he’s received a variety of feedback from CPS employees that is forming his policy considerations.

“I’ve received information myself from employees on both sides of the argument and certainly well thought out on both sides and well articulated.”

But he reassured the civilian oversight body that “the majority of our members are fully vaccinated.”

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Mayor Nenshi on Calgary’s vaccine passport bylaw – Sep 24, 2021

Neufeld said a recent survey of sworn and non-sworn CPS members yielded an 82 per cent participation rate.

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“We believe that our vaccination rates… a combination of those who were confirmed to be vaccinated with two shots and 14 days, coupled with the number of people who had one shot but who indicated that they were planning on being fully vaccinated… are around 85 per cent, at the point that the survey closed,” the CPS chief said.

Read more: Calgary city council passes COVID-19 vaccine passport bylaw

While Neufeld did not say when the survey was conducted, he did say that it closed before the vaccine incentive or passport programs were announced by the province, noting more CPS members are likely to have pursued vaccination.

Neufeld said the policy will consider the people police work with.

“I think that’s important for Calgarians to be confident that any policy that we do put in place with respect to this will certainly ensure that they’re safe when dealing with members of the Calgary Police Service,” Neufeld said. “And I think, equally, employees of the service can also be confident that they, too, will be safe in the workplace when dealing with their coworkers.”

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