Council rehashes proposed vaccination policy

Smiths Falls town hall.
Posted on: November 9, 2021

During Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Smiths Falls town council again discussed proposed vaccination requirements for town employees. This week, council considered an alternate option in which unvaccinated employees could take a month’s unpaid leave before their employment with the town is terminated. 

Councillor Wendy Alford, who had spoken with feeling in previous weeks about the need for mandatory vaccinations, shared her change of perspective with council. “I did want to take a pause, because the full-time people [employed by the town] who could potentially be deprived of their livelihood deserve a little more discussion. …I feel some obligation to our current full time employees, to ensure that we have considered every option to find a way to keep them employed, while giving equal consideration to those employees and the public who are vaccinated.”

Councillor Jay Brennan shared that he was willing to accept the idea of an unpaid leave extended through January. “There was another option put forward today which I could live with: unpaid leave for a period of time, I think until February, and then you need to make a decision about whether you’re going to work for us.” Brennan noted that while this was an uncomfortable situation, it is necessary for council to establish a vaccination policy. “We have to pay attention to the duty of care we’ve been entrusted by the taxpayers, the people of this town. Going forward, the new hires need to be vaccinated. That’s certainly my firm belief.”

Councillor Peter McKenna asked about the vaccination of other municipal employees, particularly the town police. Mayor Pankow, a member of the Police Services Board, responded. “We were advised that all members of our police services are fully vaccinated. There is the expectation that all future members must also be vaccinated.” There are no termination worries in this case, as 100% of the police services employees are already vaccinated. 

Councillor Dwyer added her perspective as well. “I would not support any option that leads to the termination of employment for any employee due to their choice at this point,” she said. 

Councillor McGuire agreed with Councillor Dwyer. “The municipality is a creature of the province, and the province has decided that mandatory vaccination isn’t required for healthcare workers. I don’t think we have an obligation or a responsibility to go further than the province. Many of the services we provide are not as critical as health care.”  McGuire added that he would like to see exceptions for employees who work in close contact with children, such as the child development centre.

The vaccination policy for town employees and volunteers will be finalized and presented to council for their vote at the next council meeting.

Article by Janelle Labelle

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

2 thoughts on “Council rehashes proposed vaccination policy

  1. Steve Phillips

    Mandatory vaccination is illegal. It will take time for the courts to rule but this is common sense. The most fundamental right of a person is control over their own body. You cannot mandate forced vaccinations. I don’t understand what has happened to people’s brains. This is ridiculous. It’s obvious to any sane, rational person. Look at any human or medical rights code we have or subscribe to. Wake up.

    In addition to that the police and others have indicated that requiring vaccines to maintain employment is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada sections 265 (assault) and 346 (extortion). That’s the law. And there are reasons for such laws. If you enforce vaccine mandates for employees you may be criminally charged and jailed. This is not 1930’s Germany. Get your heads out of your posteriors politicians. You are servants not rulers.

  2. Nancy Tewes

    “The Canadian Labor Board has officially rejected all vaccine mandates for public employees” as they are “A violation of Human Rights and Employment Rights”. This isn’t being covered by mainstream media, nor have many of the legal proceedings against most employers across Canada been brought to public attention. Any employer who initiates a mandatory vaccination policy is setting themselves up for liability issues and potential criminal charges. Be very wary about what you are imposing on your employees as the government is placing this decision on employers knowing that the fallout will land on the employer and not themselves. Remember that ignorance will not save anyone in the court of law, and thinking that just because the government is inferring that it is okay means it is legal – educate yourselves because it is not.

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