CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council passed a vaccine policy at their meeting on Monday, Sept. 27.
The policy will require all municipal employees, students, volunteers, and contractors to show proof of vaccination as of Friday, Oct. 1.
Those who are not fully-vaccinated will be required to submit to regular COVID-19 testing a minimum of three times a week or more as directed by their employer. Testing will be conducted by the Cornwall-SD&G Paramedics one Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at their headquarters on Campbell St. Testing on those days will only be available from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The City will stop offering testing as of Nov. 15 at which time employees who are unvaccinated will have to go and get tested through other means, such as through the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).
Employees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employees who refuse to be vaccinated will not be given the option to work from home.
Employees who violate the vaccine policy could face workplace discipline, including termination of employment.
The City will consider providing time off to employees who would like to get vaccinated during work hours, and will allow employees to use personal leave, vacation or other approved banks of time if they experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Council passed the new vaccine policy unanimously, save for Councillor Eric Bergeron who was not present for the meeting.
Councillor Justin Towndale was the sole member of Council to ask a question about the policy when he inquired if the City had received a legal opinion on it from its lawyers.
“We have a high degree of confidence that we could defend this from any challenge,” said Geoff Clarke, the City’s Manager of Corporate Services who said that lawyers had reviewed the policy and that he would send Councillor Towndale copies of that discussion.
Prior and during the first 30 minutes to the meeting on Monday night, there was a small but loud group of protesters outside of council chambers expressing their opposition to the policy.