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City of Guelph keeps mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy in place for employees

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The City of Guelph is among several municipalities in Ontario that is keeping its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for its employees.

The decision is being made despite the provincial government lifting several pandemic restrictions, including ending proof-of-vaccination requirements in certain settings.

Read more: Several Ontario municipalities keep mandatory COVID vaccine policies in place for employees

In a statement, Guelph’s general manager of human resources Mark Ellis said the city remains committed to ensuring its workspaces and facilities are safe for all staff and residents who use their services.

“In addition to public health requirements, the city’s vaccine policy and screening requirements will remain in place for staff,” Ellis said.

“Our policy requires disclosure of vaccination status and a regular testing protocol for those who are unable to or chose not to get fully vaccinated.”

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In August 2020, the city announced that its employees had until Oct. 15 to submit proof of vaccination or a medical exemption.

By the time the vaccination policy went into effect, 93 per cent of staff had submitted proof of being fully vaccinated.

Along with paramedics, the requirement also applied to members of city council and the Guelph Public Library as well as contractors and volunteers working for the city.

The policy stipulated that unvaccinated full-time staff had to be tested twice a week, 48 hours apart, while part-time staff had to be tested 48 hours ahead of their first shift of the week.

They also had to take part in mandatory training on COVID-19 vaccination.

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Toronto, York Region, Windsor, Sudbury and Ottawa also announced this week that it is keeping similar vaccine requirements in place.

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Read more: Ontario to end COVID proof of vaccination March 1, mask mandate to remain in place

It’s unclear how long Guelph will keep its own vaccine mandate in place.

“We’ll continue to monitor the impact of lifting COVID-19 restrictions locally and may decide to change current requirements and policies in the future,” Ellis said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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