Vaughan considering introducing its own vaccine mandate for city workers
Aug. 23, 2021
The City of Vaughan will implement a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees on the heels of Toronto’s announcement that it would require its entire workforce to be fully immunized by the end of October.
Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua tells CP24 that he recently reached out to York Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji to gauge his feelings about the mandate and was told that it is something the city should do given the concerns over the Delta variant.
He said that he has now directed staff to begin developing a “mandatory vaccination policy” for all city employees.
“Throughout this journey of COVID-19 have always spoken about the fact that this is a serious enemy that we're dealing with and quite frankly we can't afford defectors in this war against COVID-19,” Bevilacqua said. “So it is my responsibility as mayor to make sure that we take whatever measures are required to save the lives of our citizens.”
Numerous levels of government and businesses have already rolled out vaccine mandates for their employees, though some like the one issued by the Ontario Public Service on Thursday allow unvaccinated individuals to participate in a regular testing program rather than face sanction.
At this point it is unclear what form a vaccine mandate for City of Vaughan employees will take, though Bevilacqua said that he wants to put workers “on notice that this is going to happen.”
During an interview with CP24 later on Friday, Kurji said that the situation with the Delta variant is such that things like vaccine mandates will make sense for many employers.
He said that York Region Public Health is also considering additional restrictions, such as active screening at childcare symptoms and extended the mask mandate for schools to include kindergarten students.
“So the situation on the ground is changing rather rapidly and we need to be nimble about all this. The contact investigation folks are very busy now, we're seeing cases arising in large gatherings and family gatherings and when we look at the incidence in vaccinated individuals you only see about 9.8 (cases) per 100,000 whereas it is 167 per 100,000 in unvaccinated individuals,” he said. “We have given people ample opportunity to get vaccinated on a voluntary basis. It is now prudent that we consider vaccination policies much along the lines of what the Chief Medical Officer of Health has stated other things like the health and education sectors.”