Vaccine requirements up for debate at Saskatoon council meeting Monday

The city would become Saskatchewan’s first municipality to implement policies around mandatory COVID-19 vaccines if the motion passes.  

A bylaw could require staff and people attending public facilities to be vaccinated

Saskatoon would be the province's first municipality to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies, should the motion passes. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

Saskatoon city councillors will debate mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for city facilities and employees Monday afternoon. 

City councillor Zach Jeffries will put forward the motion, wanting to pass a bylaw that would enact a vaccine policy for the city.

Though the details are yet to be hammered out, the motion could require all staff and people attending civic facilities — such as recreational facilities and transit — to be vaccinated.

Last week Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark expressed support for a vaccine passport system and vaccination requirements for certain activities, and the City of Saskatoon announced it would postpone its return to work plan due to surging COVID-19 cases. 

"Saskatoon is the hot spot right now with COVID, and [we have] to provide as much clarity as possible to make it so that it isn't up to each business owner or each municipality to figure this out on our own," Clark said in an interview with CBC last week. 

Saskatoon currently has 641 active cases of COVID-19 and data suggests the COVID cases could continue to rise. A team tracking COVID-19 levels in the city's waste water system said last week they detected the largest ever amount of virus in the city's waste water. 

The city would become Saskatchewan's first municipality to implement policies around mandatory COVID-19 vaccines if the motion passes.  

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said last week he would not be implementing a province wide vaccine passport system. He did say he expects that some Saskatchewan-based businesses will choose to do so. 

Moe's comments came after Manitoba announced government employees who work with vulnerable populations "need to be fully immunized for COVID-19 by Oct. 31, or undergo regular testing."

In Saskatoon, the idea was met with some skepticism from councillors last week. 

Coun. Randy Donauer told CBC last week that there were concerns with the City accessing people's personal health data. 

Recently Banff and Toronto announced mandatory vaccinations for their employees.

The meeting takes place Monday, Aug. 30, at 1 p.m. and can be live-streamed on the city's website.


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