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COVID-19 vaccination or negative test to be required for MLAs to sit in Alberta legislature: Nixon

UCP MLA Jason Nixon at the Alberta legislature on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Global News

Government House Leader Jason Nixon said Tuesday that MLAs will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide a negative test result before sitting in the Alberta legislature on Oct. 25.

Nixon said he believes all UCP caucus members will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by that timeline.

He said all but four UCP MLAs are fully vaccinated. Three have only had one dose so far, and there is one who is “going through a medical situation with their doctor” and has yet to receive a single dose.

The NDP Opposition has said all of its members are fully vaccinated. Nixon said members of his government will meet with members of the Opposition on Friday “to manage issues around the chamber” before the next legislative sitting begins.

Last week, the province announced all provincial employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to produce a negative PCR test result or rapid test result within 72 hours of every scheduled shift and pay for that themselves.

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Nixon indicated that rule will apply to staff at the Legislative Assembly Office but noted that since MLAs fall under a different jurisdiction, applying the policy to elected lawmakers has been more complicated.

“The requirement, the need to be able to make sure that democratically elected officials can take their seat inside the chamber is something we have to address,” he said.

Nixon said he expects that rules will be in place to also require MLAs who choose not to get vaccinated to produce a negative PCR test result or rapid test result within 72 hours of every scheduled shift and pay for that themselves.

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There are two Independent MLAs in Alberta’s legislature: Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes. Both are former UCP caucus members. Nixon did not have vaccination details for either MLA.

Watch below: Some recent Global News videos about the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.

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