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Nova Scotia premier upset by liquor corp’s delayed vaccine deadline for workers

Click to play video: 'N.S. premier disappointed with NSLC’s vaccine deadline'
N.S. premier disappointed with NSLC’s vaccine deadline
WATCH: Premier Tim Houston is expressing his disappointment with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, which did not follow the province’s lead in setting a Nov. 30 deadline for employees to show proof they had at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – Dec 10, 2021

Premier Tim Houston is expressing displeasure with the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation‘s decision to give its employees until Jan. 15 to show proof of vaccination.

Houston said Thursday he’s upset the arm’s-length Crown corporation chose not to go with the province’s Nov. 30 deadline for civil servants to show proof they had one dose of vaccine and could be fully vaccinated by Jan. 25.

Last week the province said more than 1,000 public sector workers had been placed on unpaid leave after failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline.

Read more: Most N.S. frontline workers, civil servants vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of deadline

The premier said he was given some of the liquor corporation’s rationale for not following the province’s policy of immediately suspending unvaccinated workers and found it “completely unacceptable.”

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Houston said he doesn’t believe there’s anything his government can do about the situation, but it will review “how we got here.”

Corporation spokeswoman Beverley Ware says the corporation believes its policy is in step with the province’s vaccination mandate, which requires civil servants to be fully vaccinated 56 days after Nov. 30, which is Jan. 25.

Ware said that as of Thursday, 72 per cent of permanent employees who have informed the corporation of their status have confirmed that they are fully vaccinated.

Read more: COVID-19: Nova Scotia vaccination program takes ‘huge step forward’ as 2021 draws to a close

“Most of our employees currently have their first (vaccine) dose if not both already, and this is during, of course, our busiest time of the year,” she said.

Ware confirmed that any employee who is not fully vaccinated by the corporation’s Jan. 15 deadline will be placed on unpaid leave.

Meanwhile, Houston said he believes the vaccine mandate for the entire public sector has been “in general a success.”

“We had a high percentage of those who were under the mandate who were vaccinated,” he said.

Provincial figures released Dec. 3 indicated that 99 per cent of public sector workers, including health-care workers, teachers and civil servants, have at least one dose of vaccine while 97 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2021.

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