Stephen Petrick Special to the Echo
Dysart passes Covid vaccination policy
Those who work for or with the Municipality of Dysart et al will soon be asked to show they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but those who aren’t won’t likely be fired.
This is a result of a policy passed by the municipality at its Tuesday, Oct. 26 virtual meeting.
The policy states that “all employees, council and committee members, volunteers, students and contractors that work in direct contact with Dysart employees, will be required to attest to being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or having a medical exemption or other exemption under the Human Rights Code.”
The policy is expected to come into effect around the start of December. Once in effect, those workers will have 30 days to show they’re in compliance. However, the policy is not as strict as some big city organizations, which are not letting unvaccinated employees work. For instance, the Toronto Transit Commission is reportedly expected to put more than 2,000 unvaccinated employees on leave.
Dysart workers who don’t comply will instead be asked to participate in a “weekly rapid testing program” to ensure they’re not a Covid risk.
That issue sparked some discussion at the meeting. Councillor John Smith, who eventually voted against the policy, asked why the municipality wasn’t proposing a stricter policy in which vaccinations are mandatory.
Chief Administrative Officer Tamara Wilbee said the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has asked local organizations to put vaccination policies in place, but hasn’t insisted on mandatory vaccinations. Staff then, sensing that most employees would be vaccinated already, opted to write a policy that they believed would reduce the risk of thorny legal issues.
“We feel we will get a better rate of compliance through education, than mandate,” Wilbee said.
Mayor Andrea Roberts told council that “termination for non-compliance is very, very risky.”
She said that organizations that terminate employees for not being vaccinated could face legal or union battles, and it’s not yet clear who will win those battles.
When a recorded vote on the policy was called, it passed with Smith as the only dissenter