COVID-19: 4 unions file grievances against City of Ottawa vaccine mandate

The City of Ottawa's COVID-19 vaccination policy is facing backlash from four unions representing its employees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Four labour unions representing Ottawa transit and municipal workers have filed grievances with the city over a policy mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees.

Under the policy announced last month, all City of Ottawa staff are expected to have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 15. Full vaccination would then be required for those providing in-person services by Nov. 1, two weeks after immunization is considered active.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for federal workers by end of October, Trudeau announces

Four union chapters representing City of Ottawa employees and transit workers filed grievances shortly after the policy was announced, according to a statement provided to Global News from city solicitor David White on Wednesday.

These include two chapters of the Amalgamated Transit Union, ATU 279 and ATU 1760, and two chapters of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, CUPE 5500 and CUPE 503.

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Most of the aforementioned unions represent OC Transpo drivers, maintenance crews, administrators or support staff, while CUPE 503 covers other municipal employees, including paramedics, long-term care and library staff.

“These matters are in the initial stages and are proceeding through the normal grievance process outlined in the respective collective agreements,” White said.

Read more: Small crowd protests COVID-19 vaccine mandates at The Ottawa Hospital

The grievances were first reported by CBC News.

Across Ottawa, 84 per cent of eligible residents have now received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 89 per cent having gotten at least an initial dose.

Wednesday’s vaccination update from Ottawa Public Health shows that 80 per cent of residents aged 18-39 — the demographic reporting the lowest levels of vaccine uptake in the city — have now received first doses.

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