City of Victoria puts 25 staff on unpaid leave due to vaccination status
More than two dozen City of Victoria staff members were put on unpaid leave after failing to meet the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all municipal workers.
The city announced its vaccination requirement on Nov. 2, saying all staff would need to have received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 5.
The city confirmed Wednesday that 25 municipal staff didn't meet the vaccination requirement and were sent home without pay on Jan. 6.
The number of staff on unpaid leave represents approximately two per cent of the city's workforce, which numbered 1,242 employees in 2020, according to the city's most recent annual report.
"Vaccines are the strongest prevention measure we have against COVID-19," said city manager Jocelyn Jenkyns when the vaccine mandate was announced.
"This vaccine requirement will continue to protect employees in all of our workplaces, as well as members of the public who we interact with," she said.
The vaccine requirement does not apply to elected city officials, however all members of Victoria council have confirmed they are fully vaccinated, according to city spokesperson Bill Eisenhauer.
The municipalities of Nanaimo, Saanich and Esquimalt also imposed vaccine requirements for all staff, as did the Capital Regional District.
The City of Nanaimo said all staff and contract employees who failed to provide proof of vaccination by Jan. 13 would have to submit to rapid testing for COVID-19.
Rapid test kits for municipal staff are being provided by the province, according to the city.