COVID-19: Halifax announces mandatory vaccination policy in works for its employees

Click to play video: 'Halifax announces mandatory vaccination for its 4,000 employees'
Halifax announces mandatory vaccination for its 4,000 employees
WATCH: The Halifax Regional Municipality has announced its employees must show proof of vaccination by December 15th or risk being put on unpaid administrative leave. Jesse Thomas has more. – Oct 7, 2021

Halifax Regional Municipality released a statement Thursday stating it’s working on a mandatory vaccination policy for all of its 4,000 employees.

This includes all police, fire, and transit employees.

“It’s been the municipality’s decision from the outset to follow the directives of the chief medical officer of health as well from the beginning we stated we’ll reassess our policy and position as needed,” said Laura Wright, spokesperson for Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).

The new policy comes after the province announced the day before that all 11,000 employees of the Nova Scotia government will need to get their COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 30.

Click to play video: 'All Nova Scotia public servants must get COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 30'
All Nova Scotia public servants must get COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 30

Read more: COVID-19: All provincial N.S. employees must get vaccinated by Nov. 30

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HRM’s mandatory vaccination policy will require all municipal employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15.

Any municipal employees who are not fully vaccinated by Dec. 15 will face employment consequences, including unpaid administrative leave, unless they have received an employer-approved exemption. Full vaccination will also be a condition for new staff being hired.

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N.S. top doc says no need to close schools as COVID exposure notices rise

HRM said the entire scope of the policy is still being worked out, but in principle, the Halifax transit union is on board with the policy.

“It’s about time, it should have come out sooner but in the absence of actually seeing the policy and what’s in it, it’s hard to comment on how strict or rigid it will be but it’s a welcome addition to keeping my members safe and our families and riders safe,” said Ken Wilson, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508.

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Meanwhile, Halifax Water — which does not fall under the provincial government or HRM — says it is “actively considering” a vaccine mandate.

“While Halifax Water is independent of the Provincial Government and the city of Halifax, we are continually committed to the health and safety of our employees, customers and the general public,” wrote Halifax Water spokesperson Jeff Myrick.

“The decisions by the province and the city are fairly recent and we are still reviewing the specifics. We currently do not have a vaccine mandate, but are actively considering it in light of the strong encouragement from all three levels of government.”

Halifax Public Libraries is also a separate employer from HRM, but told Global News they too are implementing a vaccine policy and “are just doing final reviews before sharing it with staff.”

Nova Scotia’s proof-of-vaccination policy went into effect this week, which means people who are aged 12 and older must show their proof of vaccination in order to participate in non-essential events and activities that gather people together, such as going to restaurants, movies, sports events, theatre performances, social events, and the gym.

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