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City won't hire any new employee who isn't fully vaccinated

New vaccination policy includes contractors, subcontractors, students and volunteers
2021-06-02 Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre File BC (1)
Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre file photo

All employees of the City of Sault Ste. Marie will be asked to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by Tuesday, Oct. 5.

"Those employees that are not fully vaccinated or do not disclose their status will be required to attend mandatory education on the benefits of vaccination," says Malcolm White, the city's chief administrative officer.

"As well, the city will work with employees on an individual basis to ensure they have access to specific information relating to individual concerns they may have regarding vaccines," White says in a report prepared for Mayor Christian Provenzano and city councillors.

"These employees will also be required to submit to regular rapid antigen testing to ensure negative test results."

White says the city knows some of its employees are not fully vaccinated, but acknowledges "there is a need to balance the human rights and privacy rights of employees with our obligation to protect employees and workplaces."

"It should be understood that this policy will be an evolving policy which will continue to be informed by provincial legislation, public health advice and direction and any relevant arbitration and/or legal decisions."

The new policy will apply to all city employees including full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, volunteers and students.

Also included are volunteers and students, as well as contractors or subcontractors.

Exemptions will be allowed under grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code, but employees must provide written proof from a physician or nurse practitioner.

"New employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of being hired by the City of Sault Ste. Marie," the policy states.

Failing to comply with the vaccination policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

White is expected to submit a report estimating financial impacts of the policy at a City Council meeting on Sept. 27.