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Seven per cent of city staff unvaccinated, with seven people put on unpaid leave

Seven members of city staff have been placed on unpaid leave for not disclosing their vaccination status by last week's deadline
20210219 Fergus Sportsplex Vaccine Clinic KA 04
Kenneth Armstrong/Village Media file photo

Seven city workers who declined to share their vaccination status with their employer have been placed on unpaid leave, says Sault Ste. Marie CAO Malcolm White.

The city placed a deadline for staff to disclose their vaccination status by last Friday and received responses from 626 workers, said White. The seven workers who did not disclose their status are being placed un unpaid leave due to non-compliance with the policy.

Of the staff who did disclose, 88 per cent are fully vaccinated and five per cent are partially vaccinated.

That leaves 44 staff members who have not received even a single dose of vaccine against COVID-19. They will not be placed on unpaid leave, but will have to proceed through the city's mandatory COVID vaccination education program, said White.

"Any staff not fully vaccinated at this time will need to participate in a rapid antigen testing process in order to continue working," He said.

White said the unvaccinated staff members are represented throughout the corporation's many departments and the results of the survey did not include the members of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service or library staff, which are separate entities.

Last month the city announced its COVID-19 vaccination policy which applies to all city employees including full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, volunteers and students. In addition, anyone who is newly hired with the city will have to show proof of being fully vaccinated.

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

White noted the city's vaccination policy continues to evolve and will be revised shortly to address timelines to achieve full vaccination status.