Photo: Fraser Health
The evidence for immunization policies with local governments across the Thompson-Okanagan is a mixed bag.
The policies of Vernon, Kelowna and Kamloops do not extend to the board, but mandate COVID vaccines for all staff and employees.
In Penticton, its policy includes council members, as does the Splatsin First Nation government near Enderby.
The Regional District of Columbia Shuswap also includes trustees in its mandate.
The North Okanagan Regional District, meanwhile, has so far not issued any statement on vaccine policy within that organization.
“The proof of vaccination policy is an administration policy. It applies to everyone in the administration, which includes all municipal employees and city volunteers, ”said City of Vernon spokesperson Christy Poirier.
“The board does not report to the administration and is therefore not included in the policy.”
It comes as 11 candidates are vying for a seat on Vernon’s board in a Dec. 4 by-election, and at least two have made public anti-vaccine statements.
“Mandatory vaccination is illegal in Canada. How could I support this as a serving board member? I believe in body autonomy. Your body, your choice,” candidate Kevin Demers told Castanet.
Demers also shared anti-mask and anti-vaccine posts on his personal Facebook page.
Candidate Art Gourley said: “I don’t feel the need to make vaccinations mandatory. We don’t know what they’re shooting at us. I didn’t take the vaccine and I won’t. I don’t. hate the idea that people lose their jobs if they don’t take it. “
Demers says he would like to see the pandemic restrictions relaxed “to bring us back to some semblance of normalcy” and that more needs to be done “to stop the community divide.”
Gourley, meanwhile, said he believed the media “is exaggerating the virus thing … We should be able to make our own decision about wearing masks.”
The city of Vernon announced its vaccination policy on November 10.
It applies to all city employees and volunteers, including those on city committees, commissions or task forces, and is effective January 14.
General manager Will Pearce said the city recognizes that some employees cannot be vaccinated and will welcome those who need an exemption.
If an employee chooses not to comply with the policy and is not entitled to accommodation, the city says it will review the circumstances and “implement appropriate measures to protect health and safety at the workplace. work ”, including unpaid leave and / or discipline up to and including dismissal.
In Kamloops, the vaccination mandate goes into effect on December 15.
While it does not include advice, it extends to all employees, contractors and volunteers.
Meanwhile, the count. Denis Walsh chose to attend the meetings via Zoom because he is not vaccinated.
At CSRD, Executive Director Charles Hamilton said: “If someone requests accommodation, we seek to deal with them in good faith. everyone.”
Splatsin’s policy covers all employees, contractors, volunteers and elected officials in response to below-average vaccination rates in the community and the Enderby region – 62.5% and 67%, respectively.
Penticton’s policy goes into effect Jan. 4 and will include elected board members as well as staff.
Kelowna’s mandate takes effect on December 13.
“It is an administrative decision to require staff to be vaccinated, but it is something that the council and I support as another way to limit the transmission of the virus among staff and the public,” the mayor said. Colin Basran.
Although all council members have said they are vaxxed, the policy does not include them.