COVID-19: All Ottawa city staff must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1

Ottawa’s city manager has laid out a COVID-19 vaccine policy for all municipal staff, requiring full vaccinations for all employees by the start of November.

Steve Kanellakos sent a memo outlining the staff vaccination mandate on Friday afternoon, meeting the deadline Mayor Jim Watson had set for him to come up with such a policy in August.

Per the memo, all staff will be required to get a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15 and a second dose by Oct. 15, giving them two weeks for the immunization’s full effects to kick in before the Nov. 1 deadline.

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Included in the policy are councillors’ assistants, contractors working with the city, students and volunteers.

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Staff will be required to disclose their vaccination status to the city.

Medical exemptions will apply to those unable to get vaccinated, while those who refuse to get the shots will have to attend a mandatory education session.

“As the COVID-19 vaccine is a condition of employment at the City of Ottawa, staff who do not have a valid medical exemption or refuse to be vaccinated may take vacation leave, time off in lieu or a leave of absence,” Kanellakos wrote.

“Employees who refuse to comply with the requirements of this policy will not be permitted in the workplace and may be subject to a variety of consequences, which can include leave without pay or discipline, up to and including dismissal.”

Read more: Ottawa-Carleton board passes staff vaccine mandate, first shots due by Sept. 30

While the staff vaccine policy does not currently apply to city councillors, Watson said in a tweet Friday that he and Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli will bring a motion to next week’s council meeting calling for mandatory vaccinations around the council table as well.

Also on Friday, Ottawa hit a vaccination milestone with 80 per cent of all eligible residents, or 70 per cent of the total population, having received two doses of the vaccine.

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Ottawa Public Health reported 49 new COVID-19 cases in the city on Friday, raising the number of active cases locally to 268.

There are currently 10 people in hospital in Ottawa with COVID-19, one of whom is in the intensive care unit.

To date, there have been 343 confirmed or suspected cases of the Delta variant in Ottawa, with 200 coming in the last 30 days.

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