Unvaccinated Ottawa police employees must undergo testing every three days under COVID-19 vaccine policy
The Ottawa Police station on Elgin Street is seen in Ottawa, on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Police Service has implemented a new COVID-19 vaccination policy for all officers and civilians, with unvaccinated officers required to undergo testing every three days while continuing to work.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly and Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof unveiled the policy to employees on Friday afternoon after two months of discussions.
Under the policy, which takes effect Oct. 22, all officers and civilians must disclose their vaccination status or provide written proof of a medical exemption.
"If you are not fully vaccinated, you must produce a negative COVID-19 test every 72 hours," says the policy, which also covers employees working from home.
Ottawa police employees not fully vaccinated or having an approved medical exemption must complete a COVID-19 education course by Nov. 15.
Starting Dec. 1, all Ottawa police employees who are not fully vaccinated must produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test or rapid antigen test taken within 72 hours. Tests will be conducted outside work hours at an Ottawa Police Service identified testing location.
The policy notes certain Ottawa police positions will require vaccination to comply with the mandatory vaccination policies of community partners, including the Ottawa International Airport and all city of Ottawa municipal facilities.
"The policy is balanced, creating a hygienic and productive workplace. It also ensures public safety and health," said Skof.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa Friday evening, the Ottawa Police Service said the new COVID-19 Vaccination and Safe Workplace Policy requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status is, "designed to keep our members and the community safe."
As of Friday, police estimate that more than 83 per cent of its members are fully vaccinated.
The city of Ottawa implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees, as of Sept. 7. The policy requires all employees, contractors, students and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.
To comply with the policy, all staff must have received their first dose by Sept. 15, and their second dose no later than Oct. 15.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Thursday, the city said employees are currently in the process of uploading their proof of vaccination to the city's data management tool, and vaccination rates will be disclosed at a later date.
"A comprehensive analysis is underway and remains ongoing as employees continue to submit their proof of vaccination. Further details will be shared closer to the implementation date," said Valerie Turner, general manager of Ottawa's Innovative Client Services Department.