Nova Scotia

HRM to drop its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy Monday

The decision is in keeping with Phase 1 of Nova Scotia's reopening plan.

The policy will be rescinded for employees, students, work placements, volunteers and suppliers

HRM will no longer require municipal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The Halifax Regional Municipality will drop its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy on Monday, in keeping with Phase 1 of Nova Scotia's reopening plan.

The policy applied to municipal employees, students, work placements and volunteers.

In a news release Thursday, the municipality said its mandatory vaccination policy for suppliers will also be rescinded on Feb. 28.

HRM said masking and distancing requirements for indoor public places and Halifax Transit will remain in place, but may change in keeping with Public Health directives.

On Wednesday, Premier Tim Houston said all restrictions, including mask mandates, will be lifted in Nova Scotia on March 21 "if everything stays on course."

While proof of vaccination for discretionary activities like going to restaurants, gyms and sporting events will no longer be required as of Monday, restrictions will remain in place for high-risk settings like hospitals and long-term care homes. 

Barbara Adams, the province's minister of seniors and long-term care, said her department has not yet decided what to do with the mandate in the future.

"We're very fortunate that very few staff were lost because of that mandate," Adams said Thursday during an unrelated announcement in Chester, N.S.

Nova Scotia Health

Nova Scotia Health said Thursday it will not allow health-care workers who refused vaccination to return to work when the province drops its proof-of-vaccination requirement. 

In early December, the province placed more than 1,000 public sector workers who refused to adhere to the vaccination policy on leave. That included 323 Nova Scotia Health staff. 

"It's not new for people that work in health care to have a slate of vaccinations. I mean, this is something that's been around for a long time. You need to have certain vaccinations to work in health care," Houston said Thursday.