CITY HALL – In what can only be considered record-breaking speed for municipal policy, the City of Ottawa implemented its mandatory vaccine policy for employees today (Sept. 7).
“Today, the City of Ottawa implemented its mandatory vaccine policy for employees,” city staff released in a statement. “Developed in consultation with Dr. Vera Etches and Ottawa Public Health (OPH), the policy requires that all City of Ottawa employees, contractors, volunteers and students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1.”
Many city employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months, and their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of residents and the community, are key city priorities, staff said.
Vaccines provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 and are extremely effective in preventing illness and reducing transmission.
“As we’ve seen the Delta variant fueling resurgences, this policy further demonstrates the commitment to protect staff and visitors in city workplaces from COVID-19,” staff said.
To comply with the policy, employees who are not yet vaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated must:
- Have received their first dose no later than Sept. 15
- Have received their second dose no later than Oct. 15
- Be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1
““It is vital we ensure that the City of Ottawa is doing everything we can to protect our employees and our residents, especially as more of the economy reopens,” Mayor Jim Watson said. “We are doing well in Ottawa and we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the province. It is clear that Ottawa residents, including our city employees, want to protect each other and our community and help bring back normalcy to our day-to-day lives.”
The policy outlines employees are required to provide proof of their vaccination status. Staff who are unable to be vaccinated must provide written proof of a valid medical reason from a doctor or nurse practitioner. Unvaccinated employees who do not have a valid medical exemption or those who do not disclose their vaccination status will be required to complete a mandatory education session. Employees who do not 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.
All new City of Ottawa employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
“We know that vaccination offers us our best protection against COVID-19,” chair of the Ottawa Board of Health Coun. Keith Egli said. “With the Delta variant beginning to spread in our community and increasing risk, it is so important that we have as many people vaccinated as possible. Mandating vaccinations for our employees not only protects our staff and helps to reduce transmission, but it also helps to protect our entire community.”
The city continues to provide supports for staff, such as deploying mobile vaccination teams to City office buildings and allowing staff to attend vaccination appointments during work hours, when operationally feasible, to make it convenient to receive a vaccine.
The City of Ottawa vaccination policy is available on ottawa.ca.