COVID-19: 43 city workers in London, Ont. on unpaid leave due to vaccine policy

Tuesday marked the first unveiling of the latest draft annual update to London's multi-year budget with a final approval from city council scheduled for Dec. 21. Global News

Nineteen full-time and 24 casual employees with the City of London are being placed on a 30-day unpaid leave for failing to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine policy, the city said on Tuesday.

The policy had given employees until Sept. 29 to provide proof of full vaccination against the virus or proof of a medical or Ontario Human Rights Code exemption.

Those who only received one dose by Sept. 29 had until Nov. 1 to become fully vaccinated or risk an “immediate removal from active duties,” according to a copy of the policy sent to city council in September.

Read more: COVID-19: City of London tightens vaccine policy for municipal staff

Overall, the city says 99 per cent of employees complied with the policy, which also applied to staff of contractors or consultants working on behalf of the city and inside city facilities, as well as volunteers, interns and students on placement.

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“I am pleased with the very high percentage of employees who have complied with this policy,” said city manager Lynne Livingstone in a statement sent to Global News.

“Because the number of employees who will be placed on leave is a very small percentage of our staff, and because they are from various service areas across the organization, there will be no service impact to the public as a result of any disciplinary actions.”

Also pleased with the results was Steve Holland, the president of CUPE Local 101 which represents workers at the City of London.

“With regards to the few that haven’t (complied with the policy), could it lead to grievances? Absolutely,” Holland said.

“We have to represent everyone in our local. We would handle this like we would any other grievance and go through the process and go from there.”

Read more: COVID-19: LHSC to fire 84 employees after vaccine policy hits deadline

He added that the union was not informed ahead of time whether its members would not be complying with the policy and he still doesn’t know if any of the city workers on unpaid leave are from CUPE Local 101.

Holland says this means the union will be taking a “wait-and-see” approach for following up on the policy’s results.

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“It could end up that we have zero members from 101 involved, and that would mean I’m doing absolutely nothing about this.”

The City of London is the latest local organization to share the results of a COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Last month, London Health Sciences Centre revealed 84 employees would be fired for failing to meet the hospital network’s policy date.

Elsewhere, the London Police Service also revealed in October that 90 per cent of active duty employees have provided proof of full vaccination while “a number are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated and others have submitted requests for accommodation.”

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Inconsistent policies for Ontario school-based vaccine programs, experts calling for coordinated approach – Nov 1, 2021


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