All VPD employees, however, are expected to declare their vaccination status by the end of the month.
Those who do not, said Sgt. Steve Addison, will undergo regular rapid testing for the virus “at their own cost, on their own time.”
“We believe that this is the best solution for our staff, for our organization, as well as the community,” he told Global News on Tuesday.
“We’re already contending with a very busy workload. We understand that our officers are already stretched quite thin. And quite simply, we can’t afford to lose any more officers than we already have from the frontlines.”
The force confirmed the Vancouver Police Board’s policy decision one day after the City of Vancouver’s vaccine mandate was supposed to take effect for all its employees, including firefighters.
Police are funded by the municipality, but they were excluded from the mandate because the board employs and governs them.
Addison said rapid testing will allow officers to deploy into communities safely, although he said he expects all of them will be double-vaccinated.
“It’s the right thing to do. We’re strongly encouraging everyone to do it and it’s our expectation that they will.”
In Ontario, more than 200 members of the Toronto Police Service were placed on indefinite unpaid leave last month after its COVID-19 vaccine mandate took effect.
Addison said the VPD’s policy — a “living document” — could change, but for now, the practice is in line with provincial regulations.
It was not clear whether the department will reveal its staff vaccination rate when status declaration is complete at the end of the month.View link »