City hall warns of firings, drops COVID testing option in tougher employee vaccination policy

An update to the vaccination policy for London, Ont. municipal employees raises the stakes by adding terminations to the list of consequences for non-compliance, and eliminating the choice to remain unvaccinated by submitting to regular COVID-19 testing.

City hall faced criticism that its original vaccination policy unveiled Aug. 27 was too weak, but civic administration said the policy was designed to be consistent with the provincial government’s vaccination policies.

An update released Friday, drops the option to remain unvaccinated by submitting to regular testing.

By Sept. 29, the policy requires municipal employees, contractors, consultants, interns and volunteers to provide either:

• proof of double vaccination for COVID-19

• a written attestation of either a medical or Human Rights exemption

Those with a single dose by Sept. 29 will have until Nov. 1 to prove double vaccination.

The policy warns, “a finding of non-compliance by an employee will result in immediate removal from active duties.” — meaning, failure to follow the policy could result in being fired.

Corrective or disciplinary action could include, “education or training; warning; suspension or leave without pay; or termination of employment.”

The municipal policy does not apply to London Transit or the London Police Service. The Corporate Services Committee has recommended the creation of a similar policy for the 15 members of city council.

Members of the public who visit municipal buildings or facilities will not be subject to the policy, but must continue to follow masking and other pandemic-related requirements.