A mandatory vaccination policy is on the agenda for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board meeting on Nov. 18, 2021. (File photo)

A mandatory vaccination policy is on the agenda for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board meeting on Nov. 18, 2021. (File photo)

Columbia Shuswap Regional District board to consider mandatory vaccination policy

Policy includes staff, elected officials, paid on-call firefighters, emergency management volunteers

A new mandatory vaccination policy will be up for discussion at this week’s Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board meeting.

At its October meeting, the board directed staff to create a COVID-19 vaccine policy for the CSRD.

The policy is on the agenda for the Nov. 18 board meeting. It is accompanied by a staff report explaining the policy was drafted with legal counsel, which explained this is a new area of employment law and “somewhat untested at this time.”

One of the key elements to a COVID-19 vaccination policy, identified by staff, is to have the ability to “accommodate for bona fide medical reasons as well as protected grounds under the BC Human Rights Code.”

In response, staff created two separate accommodation forms for use depending on whether there is a medical accommodation needed or an accommodation under one of the basic human rights.

“Should a CSRD personnel require an accommodation, those requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may require staff to review with Interior Health, medical professionals, or legal guidance, as necessary,” reads the report.

The final draft of the CSRD’s COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Policy going before the board on the 18th states proof of being fully vaccinated will be required by all CSRD personnel as of Jan. 3, 2022. It applies to all CSRD employees and includes union and exempt employees, permanent, temporary, seasonal, casual, co-op and summer students, elected officials, paid on-call firefighters and emergency management volunteers.

Read more: Salmon Arm council adopts mandatory vaccine policy for staff, elected officials

Read more: Vaccination policy coming for Columbia Shuswap Regional District staff, elected officials

The policy identifies being “fully vaccinated against COVID-19” as having all required doses of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine. If Health Canada, the B.C. government or another governing body with authority requires additional measures, such as “booster” doses, CSRD personnel will be expected to comply with those additional measures.

The policy accommodates personnel who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious grounds protected under B.C.’s Human Rights Code. The regional district will develop an accommodation plan for these personnel that may include additional infection and prevention control measures and providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

For personnel not in compliance, or who do not qualify for accommodation defined in the policy, the CSRD will review all circumstances and implement “appropriate actions necessary to protect workplace health and safety.” This may include placing individuals on an unpaid administrative leave of absence, requiring public-health training or meeting with a CSRD appointed medical professional.

Any person who falsifies vaccination status may be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment or services.

The Thursday, Nov. 18 CSRD board meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. The agenda can be found here.

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Columbia Shuswap Regional Districtvaccines