As COVID-19 case counts continue to rise across Alberta, the City of Calgary has announced that all of its employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus by the end of October.
The municipal government enacted a COVID-19 vaccine policy for its staff members on Friday, September 3, citing the health and safety of employees and the public as its top priority.
“The recent sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations have highlighted the continued health threat of the virus,” reads a media release from the City of Calgary. “There is ample scientific proof that vaccinations are the most effective way to minimize the spread and protect City staff from acquiring – or spreading – the COVID-19 virus.”
Under the new policy, all City of Calgary employees will be required to disclose and provide proof of their vaccination status (or grounds for exemption) by September 13.
Unvaccinated staff without an exemption must have their first dose by this date.
By October 18, it will be mandatory for all City employees to have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, and by October 31 staff members without a valid exemption will be considered fully immunized against COVID-19.
“Failure to comply with the policy may result in discipline up to and including dismissal,” reads the release.
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Any employee of the municipal government who is unable to get the vaccine due to a medical reason, or other protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act, will be reasonably accommodated.
According to the City, staff members who require accommodation will be required to complete mandatory COVID-19 rapid testing, and must receive a negative result before they are allowed to complete their workplace duties.
“As the second largest employer in Calgary, The City has a duty to ensure that our workplaces are safe for both employees and citizens accessing City services, while also modelling for Calgarians the role every individual plays in ensuring the safety of others,” said City Manager David Duckworth.
“We must take this leadership role at this critical time to do our part to mitigate the impacts of COVID on our staff, our operations, and the citizens who depend on us every day,” Duckworth continued. “It’s simply the right thing to do.”
The City of Calgary noted that operational details of this policy, including the vaccination disclosure process and exemption considerations, are in the process of being finalized.