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Unvaccinated Winnipeg civic staff to complete COVID-19 education program – Winnipeg

Front-line employees who didn’t show proof of vaccination or submit an accommodation or exemption request by Monday will have to complete an education program about COVID-19, the City of Winnipeg said Friday.

So far, of the city’s 5,500 positions deemed as being high-risk or involving ongoing contact with vulnerable members of the public, around 86 per cent of employees have been fully vaccinated.

Those who haven’t will be required to participate in the online education — compiled by a team from across the city’s organization, including operation health and human resources managers — by mid-November.

Read more:
COVID-19: Winnipeg councillors vote for vaccine mandate for elected officials

“Vaccination is our best, most potent, proven tool in the fight against COVID-19. What all of Canada is facing now is largely an epidemic of the unvaccinated,” said city CAO Michael Jack.

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“We made efforts to reduce potential barriers to get the vaccine by setting up vaccine clinics at various workplaces, and we have been sharing information with employees about COVID-19 to help address potential vaccine hesitancy. It’s our hope that those in designated positions will choose to get vaccinated after completing the online training module.”

The city said it will begin regular COVID-19 testing for those who haven’t been fully vaccinated as of Nov. 15, and those who don’t comply with the requirements may be subject to leaving work without pay as of that day.

At a press conference Friday, Jack said the ultimate goal remains to convince hesitant staff to get the vaccine, and cautioned that offering testing, which will likely be required three times a week, isn’t a permanent solution, especially if the pandemic continues over a long period of time.

“We’re not committed to running a testing program for the next decade,” he said. “No employee should see this as a permanent state of affairs.”

While some employees who refuse to participate could find themselves redeployed to non-public-facing roles, Jack said that’s definitely not a guarantee, and that many of the workers in those designated public-facing positions don’t have the option to work from home — citing firefighters, paramedics, and transit operators as examples.

Brian Bowman and Michael Jack address media Friday.

City of Winnipeg / YouTube

Mayor Brian Bowman said he feels giving city employees access to accurate information is important in a time when misinformation abounds.

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“This is something that I think is incredibly important because there’s so much misinformation out there, especially on social media, when it comes to vaccines,” Bowman said.

“Where individuals have been receiving and inundated with misinformation and distortions of reality, I think it’s really important that we empower them with the information so they can do the right thing and join the vast majority of our workforce and the vast majority of Winnipeggers who have gone and got their vaccines.”

Click to play video: 'Manitoba brings back mask mandate, requires vaccination for some government employees'

Manitoba brings back mask mandate, requires vaccination for some government employees

Manitoba brings back mask mandate, requires vaccination for some government employees – Aug 24, 2021

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