New policy requires City of Barrie staff to prove vaccination status

City staff in Barrie will need to provide proof they've been vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 regularly starting Sept. 20, when Ontario's vaccine certificate comes into effect.

In a release on Thursday, the city said the new COVID-19 vaccination policy would apply to all employees, including volunteers and most contractors, where the city has duties as an employer as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

"Staff who have not been vaccinated or who do not disclose their vaccination status by Sept. 20 will be required to attend mandatory education on the benefits of vaccination," the release reads.

The city said certain staff who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their position are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 29 or be subject to disciplinary action.

City CAO Michael Prowse said the city had a duty to provide a safe environment for its staff and the community.

"By introducing this new vaccine policy, we feel we are leading by example and doing our part to keep health and safety a top priority," he stated.

Employees who refuse to get vaccinated or disclose their vaccine status by Oct. 1 or who are medically exempt would be required to get tested on a regular basis, the city said.