Sudbury

'Will we be challenged? Probably. But it's the right thing to do': North Bay latest city to mandate vaccines

All four major cities in northeastern Ontario are now requiring their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. North Bay was the latest to bring in a vaccine mandate with a unanimous vote of city council Tuesday night.

An estimated 119 of some 400 municipal employees have not disclosed their vaccination status

North Bay city council has voted to make COVID vaccinations mandatory for all municipal employees. (Erik White/CBC )

All four major cities in northeastern Ontario are now requiring their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

North Bay was the latest to bring in a vaccine mandate with a unanimous vote of city council Tuesday night.

"I'm proud to say that I'm double vaccinated and I think this is something we all need to do. It's the right thing to do," said city councillor Tanya Vrebosch. 

"Will we be challenged? Probably. But again it's the right thing to do."

It hasn't yet been decided what will happen to a city employee who refuses to get the shots.

North Bay city councillor Mark King said that about 100 of its 400 employees are estimated to not be fully vaccinated.

He said his vote for a vaccination policy took some "soul searching."

"I certainly sympathize with their thought process, but at the same time as community leaders we really have no choice but to support this mechanism," said King. 

North Bay's vaccine policy is very similar to Timmins and Greater Sudbury, where workers face discipline if they don't provide proof.

Sault Ste. Marie is taking a slightly different path.

Municipal employees had until Oct. 5 to provide proof of vaccination and those who refuse will have regular COVID testing paid for by the city for six weeks, plus be required to attend a vaccine education session.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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