COVID-19: London Police Service, police union in talks about vaccination coverage – London

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As more organizations and institutions evaluate or implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employees, officials from the London Police Service say they are working with the local police union to determine whether a vaccine policy should be implemented for their employees.

It remains to be seen whether local police officers will follow in the footsteps of the Toronto Police Service, Canada’s largest municipal police force, and come up with a mandatory vaccination policy.

In a statement, Toronto Police announced Tuesday that all members, both civilians and uniforms, are required to receive the vaccine and to disclose and prove their vaccination status by September 13, with accommodation in accordance with the province’s human rights code.

The news follows similar announcements by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx.

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“As there are currently no provincial regulations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for police services, we are working with the London Police Association to review the merits of creating an organizational policy,” said London police spokesman Scott Mandich via email .

“There are a number of considerations and implications that need to be carefully considered. We continue to contact our local health authorities for guidance and instructions that may come from the province. “

In a separate statement, the London Police Services Board administrator said the board “is up for the matter to be reviewed,” adding that the board has been “updated by (Chief Steve Williams) as it unfolds”.

“We are closely monitoring the problem and will likely have more to report in due course,” Jennifer Foster said in an email.

In a message, Rick Robson, executive director of the London Police Association, which represents more than 800 LPS members, wrote that the Toronto Police mandate came “out of the blue”.

According to the Toronto Star, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police recently wrote to the province for guidance on mandatory vaccinations.

“The chiefs, including ours, were waiting for instructions from the government. So we haven’t had a big discussion yet, ”said Robson. “Mandated vaccines weren’t on the radar so we didn’t discuss or consider that.”

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An OACP spokesman told the London Free Press last week that “there is no evidence” that the Ford government is keen to implement a provincial vaccination policy for the police, as well as for education and health workers.

Earlier this month, the province announced that as of September 7, health and education employers must have policies requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status with proof of full vaccination or a documented medical exception. Those who are not vaccinated must attend training and have regular tests.

The Toronto Police Association, which represents nearly 8,000 uniformed and civilian members of the force, said it opposed the Toronto police announcement on Tuesday.

The association said the policy was announced with no documentation, procedures or orders to support it, adding that it would work with affected parties to review common options.

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“This announcement, while tentative, lacks critical details that are central to understanding the implications, timelines, or potentially alternative options available to our members,” said Association President Jon Reid.

“The TPA must make every effort to protect all of our members and therefore does not endorse this mandatory vaccination notice or disclosure.”

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Talks at police headquarters are taking place amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The seven-day average for London-Middlesex was 29 on Monday, compared to 7 at the same time a month ago.

The increase was mainly driven by those who are not or only partially vaccinated. Health department data shows they are responsible for at least 86 percent of the cases seen in the past six weeks, with 66 percent not having a single syringe.

With this in mind, and with concerns about the Delta variant and an impending fourth wave of the pandemic, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has strongly encouraged local employers to consider mandatory vaccination guidelines for all personal activities.

“Evidence of a negative test is probably not enough. The mandatory vaccination ensures that those who are in close group activities and can be vaccinated are vaccinated, ”said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s assistant health officer, during Monday’s media briefing.

“People who are vaccinated … get sick much less often, infected much less often, and early studies suggest they are less likely to transmit the virus when they are infected,” he continued.

“The Pfizer vaccine in the United States has just received full FDA approval. Any reason not to pursue a vaccine at this point is diminishing. “


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Increasing demands for COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible students in Ontario


Increasing demands for COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible students in Ontario

The health department itself currently has a vaccination mandate in place, and the City of London and the London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) are among those either considering or working on a vaccination policy.

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During Monday’s media briefing, Josh Morgan, the city’s deputy mayor, confirmed that city officials were drafting a vaccination policy for city employees to be published on a committee agenda by the end of the week.

“I am unable to provide details of the directive, how it might look, who it might apply to, or when it might come into effect. Again, all of this will be published on Friday, ”he said during the COVID-19 media briefing on Monday.

During the same briefing, Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC Chief Medical Officer, that the organization “is considering the option of mandatory vaccination for all employees and partners at the London Health Sciences Center”.

LHSC, he says, is currently in a certification process with staff regarding vaccination status. About 85 percent of LHSC staff had completed their certification, he said, and 93 percent of those who said they received the vaccine.

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The education group wants eligible Ontario students to be required to have COVID-19 vaccination

“As soon as we have completed the attestation phase, we will present our final policy, which is due on September 7.”

The announcement of the province’s vaccination policy on education and health workers was criticized by teacher unions and opposition parties who expressed frustration at the lack of a vaccination mandate.

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A similar policy for employees of all publicly funded school boards and licensed childcare facilities is being finalized by the Ministry of Education. Children born after 2009 cannot be vaccinated.

In post-secondary education, several universities have introduced vaccination policies, including Western University.

The university’s policy, announced earlier this month, requires students, staff, and faculty at Western and its affiliated colleges to provide proof of vaccination to be on campus or to be tested twice a week.

– With files from The Canadian Press and Jacquelyn LeBel and Gabby Rodrigues of Global News

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