There are about 500 city employees in Welland, and 90% of them have provided proof that they have been doubly vaccinated against COVID-19.
The deadline to show they have received two doses was November 19, but they have until December 2, when the municipality’s vaccination policy, approved by city council on October 19, goes into effect.
Under the policy, employees who are not fully immunized – including those with a medical or Human Rights Code exemption or those who do not wish to disclose their immunization status – must take and submit a blood test. rapid screening for negative antigens twice a week, starting December 2.
Failure to comply or refusal to comply with the policy will result in an employee being placed on unpaid leave of absence for up to six weeks.
Vacation, offset credits or the like cannot be used during this leave. The continued failure and refusal to adhere to the terms of the policy will result in further disciplinary action up to and including termination, according to a staff report.
The estimated cost of RAS testing in December could be $ 22,400.
The city has said that for those who receive good faith exemptions, the tests will be paid for beyond the end of the year.
“The cost for people with an approved exemption could be $ 20,800. The source of funding for planned spending in 2021 and 2022 would be the operational contingency, ”says a recent report from the city’s human resources director.
For employees without exemptions, the city will require staff members to pay for their tests in the new year.
The tests would cost up to $ 40, said chief executive Steve Zorbas.
He expects the number of staff providing immunization records to “continue to increase” in the coming days.
Mayor Frank Campion, who urged staff, council and the public to get vaccinated at a recent council meeting, has so far said he is satisfied with the results.
“I am happy that this is moving in the right direction,” he said.
He used the way he told his kids about report cards and school tests as an example of how he assesses compliance.
If one of them came home with a 98% average for the term or mission, he would tell them that there is “still room for improvement”, which he says is a problem. ‘applies to the remaining 10% of city hall employees who have until Thursday. to prove, if they do not want to be forced to provide a negative test twice a week.
In the new year, the cost of the tests will be borne by the workers.
The policy covers all employees, including full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, students, volunteers, counselors who attend in-person meetings, contractors and suppliers.
“No compliance measures have yet been adopted,” said Marc MacDonald, director of corporate communications.