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Kingston, Ont. city council to determine COVID vaccine mandate by next week

Click to play video: 'Kingston Vax Mandate'
Kingston Vax Mandate
Kingston Vax Mandate – Oct 28, 2021

Kingston, Ont., city council says it will decide next week whether it should be mandatory for city employees to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine in order to stay employed.

Kingston’s mayor, Bryan Paterson says, ” I know that I’ve gotten questions about how, if you want to use rec centers like the Invista Centre or Artillery Park you need to be vaccinated as a customer, shouldn’t that same expectation apply to employees?”

The city of Kingston is one of the last municipalities in the area to adopt a COVID-19 vaccination policy. Municipal employees in Belleville have until Nov. 5 to show proof of vaccination, while in the County of Hastings the deadline is Oct. 29, and in Lennox and Addington staff had to prove vaccination status by Oct. 24.

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“Staff is going to bring something forward for council to discuss on Tuesday that basically would say you need to be vaccinated or tested regularly,” Paterson says.

Click to play video: 'Employees who are fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccinations might not get EI'
Employees who are fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccinations might not get EI

Councilor Jeff McLaren says he’s in favour of the policy, adding that it does conform to the human rights code allowing for exceptions where need be.

“I think it does capture the best for everyone – it protects the public, it allows for us to get back to normal as best as possible and it does allow for people not to do it, if they’re willing to do additional safeguards.”

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Similar policies are popping up in municipalities across the country in an effort to help protect employees, the community and to allow cities and towns to maintain services during the pandemic.

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Mayor Paterson added that based on an internal survey the “vast majority” of city staff have already been vaccinated. If the policy is adopted, those who haven’t yet received their two doses will have until Jan. 3 to show proof of vaccination.

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