Council approved a new mandatory vaccination policy for municipal employees during its September 27 session. The policy requires everyone working for the municipality, from administration and office staff, to field and program service crews to have full vaccination by November 22. The policy also applies to contractors and their work crews employed at municipal sites and also for any students working for The Nation as part of temporary employees.
The new policy is on a similar one that Ottawa city council approved for its municipal employees. The Nation administration also consulted the municipality’s legal counsel for advice on making sure the new policy met the standards for civil rights and responsibilities under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and the Human Rights Code (HRC).
The new policy was created in response to reports that some municipal employees were not vaccinated and this situation was creating concern among their fellow workers.
Exceptions to the new mandatory vaccination policy are allowed for medical reasons but a doctor’s signed affidavit is needed in such cases. Employees may also be able to get an exemption on religious grounds or for other reasons, but those exemptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the human resources department.
Anyone not vaccinated by November 22, whether for medical or approved non-medical reasons, must complete a mandatory education course on COVID-19 and vaccines. They also have to a weekly rapid antigen test, at their own expense, and provide the test results to the municipality.
Unvaccinated employees who refuse to take the regular anti-gen tests may ask for vacation time, time off in lieu of overtime if that is applicable, or a leave of absence without pay, or any other form of leave allowed under the ESA, if applicable. Failure to comply with the policy could result in sanctions against an employee, ranging from some type of disciplinary measure, such as suspension from work without pay to dismissal.