Unvaccinated employees will have to take rapid COVID tests or face suspension
With COVID-19 cases rising again and worries about new variants, the Niagara Regional Police Service is implementing a vaccination policy for members, as Jan. 4, 2022.
Any members who choose to not disclose their vaccination status or do not receive the vaccine by Jan. 4 will have to show proof of negative results from a rapid-antigen test.
As of the new year, any unvaccinated member or anyone who won't disclose their vaccination status and who refuses to be tested will be placed on non-disciplinary unpaid leave.
“A vaccination policy will ensure the on-going health and safety of our members, along with the community that we serve,” acting police Chief Brett Flynn said in a news release.
“This policy is one piece of the puzzle to reassure our members as well as members of the public.”
Police employees will be required to provide proof of vaccination status by Dec. 17, though the force said if any member is unable to be vaccinated under provincial rules, they will be accommodated.
In September, a group calling itself Niagara Regional Police United for Human Rights emailed civilian and uniformed members of the force objecting to any plans to make vaccines a condition of employment.
In an email to The Lake Report at that time, the group said it is composed of members of the force who “have rallied together and are taking a stand for human rights and upholding the constitution of Canada.”
The group was upset that senior commanding officers ordered the email removed from members' inboxes within hours. A spokesperson for the Niagara force said the email system is reserved solely for police business.
It is not known how the United for Human Rights group feels about the service's plan to make rapid COVID tests mandatory. Its organizers did not respond to requests for comment this week.