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City of Windsor employees unwilling to get vaccinated will go from being outcast to being laid off early in the new year.

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On Monday, about 200 employees (7.3 percent of the workforce) who had not provided complete vaccination documentation were placed on leave without pay in accordance with a vaccine mandate approved by the council in September. But on Thursday, CAO Jason Reynar sent an email to all staff telling them that the city council has directed the administration to “remove people who are not fully vaccinated by February 15, 2022.”

He explained that while staff can be shifted to fill vacancies in the short term, in the long term “the organization must ensure that all roles are filled to meet the service needs of residents and businesses.” That means laying off leave staff so they can be replaced by new hires, he said, expressing hope that the unpaid leave staff will decide to return to work “fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”

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But those that do not provide proof of a first vaccination before January 4 and a second vaccination before February 1 will be canceled on February 15. The city would then be in a position to hire new personnel, who must be fully vaccinated. – to fill vacant roles.

Windsor City CAO Jason Reynar poses for a portrait in front of City Hall on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Windsor City CAO Jason Reynar poses for a portrait in front of City Hall on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

“This is not something we want, but something we must do not only to ensure the health and safety of all of our employees, but also to continue to provide critical services to our community,” Reynar told staff.

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The council voted on the terminations Monday during a closed-door meeting.

The impact of Monday’s deadline for unvaccinated staff to be placed on unpaid leave has been felt most acutely at Transit Windsor. Despite a high vaccination rate of 91 percent, the loss of key personnel in specialized areas forced Transit Windsor to reduce its service to a Saturday schedule throughout the week beginning Nov. 22.

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Other city departments are also at risk of disruption due to the absence of unvaccinated employees, says a city news release, “as fewer staff are now available to manage during the course of regular absences, illnesses and scheduled holidays “.

CUPE Local 82 (Outside Workers) President Rob Kolody, upon receiving the notification after the job termination notice, said he saw terminations return when the council spoke of unpaid leave. The organization is simply too thin to lose even a small number of employees and continue to function as usual, he said.

“I was hoping it wasn’t, but from the way things were going, I had a feeling it would lead to layoffs,” he said, suggesting that the council was ill-advised in September and that its members were given a false sense of hope. that they couldn’t get vaccinated and save their jobs. It has about seven or eight members who are now facing dismissal. I would have preferred that they have been given the option of periodic testing.

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Reynar said vaccination numbers have continued to improve since Monday’s deadline. The percentage of staff who are fully vaccinated (91 percent) or approved for exemptions for medical or human rights reasons (two percent) now stands at 93.

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We are hopeful that we can welcome the affected people as soon as possible, ”he said. “But operational requirements will force us to fill vacancies to ensure that we can provide the high-quality public services that Windsor residents and businesses have come to expect.”

Whether these employees who are fired for not being vaccinated are said to be entitled to severance or layoff compensation is an “evolving labor law issue,” according to a city official who said there are examples of employees elsewhere who they are “fired for just cause” and are therefore not entitled to severance pay or severance pay.

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Reference-windsorstar.com

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