Worker retention key concern if Kelowna brings in obligatory vaccination | iNFOnews

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October 10, 2021 – 7:04 AM

It’s not the potential threat of legal action that has Kelowna’s top administrator moving cautiously on a decision about whether or not to impose mandatory COVID vaccination requirements on city workers.

“I think we’re legally in a good place to be able to require this of our employees, if we so choose,” city manager Doug Gilchrist told “I do suspect, across the country, there may be challenges associated with certain components of vaccine requirement conditions, but that would not be our main concern.”

City of Toronto employees need to have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 30 and Mississauga employees have to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.

Kelowna city staff are talking to other Canadian cities that are looking into requiring vaccines for their workers. Gilchrist doesn’t know of any cities requiring them yet in B.C.

“We’re doing our due diligence to see if it would be the right thing or not and any implications,” he said. “We know that not 100% of our employees would be supportive of that, possibly, and we need to understand what that would mean to our business and our employee retention.”

READ MORE: Kelowna airport ‘scrambling’ to implement new mandatory vaccination

It’s a decision Gilchrist could make on his own as it’s an administrative matter dealing with working conditions for employees. But, he said, he will certainly consult with city council if he decides to implement that rule.

“I’m in support of vaccinations generally but no decision has been made by the city,” Mayor Colin Basran told

Basran is the co-chair of the B.C .Urban Mayors’ Caucus – made up of mayors of the province’s largest cities. The issue of mandatory vaccinations has not been discussed at that level, he said.

Gilchrist did not put a time frame on how long it will take to make a decision. When asked if it could be a matter of days versus a matter of weeks, he said: “Not a few days. We still have a bit more work to do.”

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