City of Calgary releases full details on its employee vaccination policy

The City of Calgary's municipal building. (Getty Images)

The City of Calgary has released details on its COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees.

All city employees will be required to be fully vaccinated – and provide proof they are – by Nov. 1.

Those who cannot be vaccinated based on a protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act can request an exemption. However, if the exemption is granted, employees must participate in the city's rapid testing program on an ongoing basis. 

At-home testing kits will be available at no cost to employees who are granted an exemption.

Those who fail to comply with the policy by Nov. 1 will be given a month-long grace period during which they be will required to attend an online education program about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccinations, and participate in rapid testing.

At home testing kits will be made available to employees at no cost between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1.

After Dec. 1, City of Calgary employees who fail to get fully vaccinated and provide proof will be required to continue with rapid testing on their own time and at their own expense.

"Tests must be completed by an authorized vendor and no at-home testing kits will be made available to employees after Dec. 1," the city said.

The city said employees who fail to attend the mandatory online education program and/or participate in rapid testing will be placed on an immediate leave of absence for a minimum of 30 days.

"The leave of absence will be unpaid unless the employee has accrued/banked vacation or other banked time available to use during the leave of absence," the city said.

"Employees who have not become fully vaccinated and provided proof of vaccination or agreed to comply with the requirements set out above prior to expiry of the leave of absence will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal."

The city announced last month that it would make vaccinations mandatory for all employees, but didn't share specific details of its vaccination plan until Wednesday.

"The policy applies to all City of Calgary employees, regardless of workplace or worksite location, including those who are remote working or have a telework agreement in place," the city said.

A separate policy will be developed for contractors and volunteers entering city-owned and operated worksites, but it too will require they be fully vaccinated.

“The safety of City employees and our citizens will always be our top priority,” City manager David Duckworth said.

“Vaccines are proven to be safe and effective to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This policy is intended to maximize vaccination rates among City employees. With COVID-19 cases on the rise at an alarming rate, this is the responsible thing to do as public servants.”