Employees of Waterloo Region will be required to disclose whether or not they are vaccinated by September 27 under a new policy announced this week. Those not inoculated will be required to undergo COVID-19 vaccination education and face a rapid-antigen testing program.
The new policy announced Monday follows similar decisions in other municipalities.
“Regional council cares deeply about the health and safety of our staff, clients and residents,” said Chair Karen Redman in a release. “A vaccine is the best defence against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, and we’ve seen high uptake of the vaccine across Waterloo Region. Thanks to walk-in access across multiple locations, it has never been easier to receive a vaccine.”
The policy applies to all staff members, including students and volunteers. The policy was put in place to help protect the staff and the community as the fourth wave continues in the region, officials say.
“Our staff are the greatest asset we have at the region, and we value the critical work each and every employee carries out on a daily basis as we serve this community,” said regional chief administrative officer Bruce Lauckner. “This policy puts the health and wellbeing of staff first. As we continue to move through a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region, we want to ensure our employees can continue to serve this community safely and effectively.”
The region’s lower-tier municipalities are expected to follow suit in order to present a consistent policy, as has been the case with other pandemic-related moves.
“The Township of Woolwich, like the region, is also currently working on an employee vaccination policy in an effort to help protect both staff and the community. Details should be finalized soon, and we will advise when we have more information to share,” said Woolwich chief administrative officer David Brenneman said in an email Monday. The township will extend the policy to elected officials.
The policy joins other safety protocols being put in place at regional locations, including the installation of Plexiglas barriers and hand-washing stations throughout the buildings. Wearing a mask and a daily self-screening for staff are required in addition to the new vaccine policy.