City of Edmonton, EPS make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees
The City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service (EPS) are introducing vaccine mandates for all their employees.
Announced on Monday, all city employees will need one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 30 and two doses by Oct. 30 to ensure full vaccination by Nov. 15, a statement read.
“We believe this is the right decision for our workforce, the right decision for protecting our community and the right decision for the health care system,” Andre Corbould, the city manager, said in a media availability.
According to the city, as of Sept. 13, 72 per cent of employees had reported they were fully immunized.
Anyone not fully immunized by the November deadline will have to comply with COVID-19 rapid testing up to twice per week at their own cost. If the employee does not register for testing they will be placed on leave without pay, the city said.
According to Corbould, the deadline was chosen to give employees time to receive either both shots or their final dose, consult with their medical providers, and ensure enough time between shots to grant immunity.
The city will accommodate employees who require an exemption on the basis of protected legal ground such as medical or religious reasons.
“As one of Alberta’s largest employers, the city has a duty to support reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Corbould said. “We want to help bring an end to this pandemic.
“We encourage other local businesses and organizations in the city to adopt a vaccine policy as well.”
Corbould added that mandating vaccines for employees will add to the city’s layered COVID-19 measures that include masking, physical distancing, pre-shift employee screening, increased sanitizing and handwashing.
“Our goal is to keep our facilities open, our services running, and our employees safe and healthy,” he said.
EPS CREATES VACCINE MANDATE FOR OFFICERS
Cheryl Sheppard, EPS spokesperson, said in a statement that while vaccination rate for the police force is “relatively high,” the current COVID-19 case surge pushed the organization to implement the mandate.
“As such, the EPS is implementing protocols,” Sheppard said, “to ensure we are providing a safe environment to ensure we are providing a safe environment for our employees and the citizens we serve.”
Effective Oct. 18, EPS employees will need to indicate whether they are fully vaccinated and that it has been more than 14 days since they received both doses; submit to rapid testing at their own expense; or go on leave without pay.
EPS volunteers and contractors will also be subject to the vaccine rules.