Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Penticton and Kelowna make COVID-19 vaccinations a condition of employment.
As of December 13th, all City of Kelowna staff will need to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment.
City Manager Doug Gilchrist said, “Before announcing the policy today (October 25th), we took some time to talk with staff about the rationale and importance of implementing a COVID-19 vaccination policy,”
A press release from the city points to other cities that have implemented similar COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Kamloops and other municipalities have COVID vaccination mandates for employees.
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said, "It’s an administrative decision to require staff to be vaccinated, but it’s something Council and I support".
The mandate comes even though COVID-19 cases in the central Okanagan have decreased from numbers seen last summer.
City of Penticton staff and council will also require proof of vaccination starting January 4.
Jim Bauer, Penticton's General Manager of Finance and Administration said, “Implementing a vaccination policy at this time is one additional measure to ensure City workplaces, staff, and the public are as safe as possible while also aligning our organization with recommendations from our provincial health officer for large employers to implement vaccine mandates.”
Both cities say they will make accommodations for unvaccinated employees who have a certified medical condition or a religious or other protected human rights exemption.
When the mandatory vaccination dates arrive unvaccinated staff will not be allowed to report to their workplace.