Espanola does not pass a vaccine policy for employees
The Town of Espanola has bucked the trend when it comes to putting a vaccine policy in place for municipal employees.
Discussions were centred around the possible dismissal of staff.
Council discussed the topic for nearly an hour, with Town CAO-treasurer Allan Hewitt telling council dismissal would be the very last resort.
Councillors did not agree.
With one councillor absent, it went to a recorded vote which ended in a tie, defeating the motion.
Mayor Jill Beer says that puts Espanola in the position where it has no vaccination policy for town staff as recommended by governments and health agencies.
Councillor Heather Mallot was absent from the meeting.
Councillors who voted in favour of the policy are Bill Foster and Sandra Hayden, as well as Mayor Beer. Councillors Ken Duplessis, Ray Dufour and Maureen Vanalstine voted against.
However, vaccination policies are in place for the public.
As of this Wednesday, proof of vaccination is needed at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
Vaccinations and the legislature
Anyone who enters the Ontario Legislature will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 4th or provide evidence of a recent negative test.
Speaker Ted Arnott says further details will be released shortly.
The order covers everyone from MPPs to visitors.
Premier Doug Ford has already expelled one member from the caucus for refusing to be vaccinated.
All other Conservatives have received their shots, except one, who has a medical exemption.
Vaccinations for long-term care and other health workers
The government will soon start publishing information about the vaccination status of those working in Ontario’s long-term care homes.
But Long-Term Care minister Rod Phillips won’t commit to making vaccinations mandatory for those employees.
Phillips says they’ve had success in limiting outbreaks by closely monitoring the situation, and will continue to do so.
He also notes some facilities which have mandated vaccinations on their own have had trouble retaining staff.
Groups representing relatives of those in long-term care, and medical organizations, have been calling on the province to make vaccinations compulsory for those employed in the industry.
No restrictions on anti-vaccination demonstrations
The Ford government has no plans to introduce legislation to restrict anti-vaccination demonstrations outside health care institutions and businesses.
A spokesperson in Ford’s office says the government is confident that law enforcement agencies already have the tools necessary to control the situation.
The Quebec government has introduced a bill that would outlaw protests within 50 meters of hospitals, schools, and vaccination centres with fines of up to ten thousand dollars for those who harass employees.
Ontario’s New Democrats plan to introduce a similar measure on their own when the legislature resumes early next month.
Photo by Rosalind Russell