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City of Red Deer

City implements COVID-19 immunization policy for staff and volunteers

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City Hall

The City of Red Deer has implemented a new policy aimed at relieving pressures on our healthcare system and protecting the health and safety of City of Red Deer staff and volunteers. The COVID-19 Immunization Policy outlines the requirements for City of Red Deer staff and volunteers to be fully immunized by November 28, 2021.

“Over the past 19 months, we have continuously enhanced measures and encouraged immunization in our organization, but we are at a point in the pandemic where our healthcare system is overloaded, we are seeing our highest number of cases in our community resulting in serious consequences ,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “As one of Red Deer’s largest employers, we are ready to take the next step in protecting our community and our healthcare system, and today, this is through our new internal immunization policy.”

The new policy applies to all City of Red Deer staff and volunteers, and requires them to be fully immunized by November 28, 2021.

To comply with this date, the following timelines apply:
• for a two dose vaccine series, employees and volunteers must receive one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by October 15, 2021, and the second dose by November 13, 2021.
• for a single dose vaccine series, employees and volunteers must receive the dose by November 13, 2021.

The current measures in place in City facilities for staff and patrons will continue to apply including masking, physical distancing, enhanced hand and surface sanitizing and staying home when sick.

“Immunizations are a contentious issue. People have strong opinions, which create tension in our workplaces and in our personal lives, but despite all of the emotions around this particular topic, a City of Red Deer Covid-19 immunization policy is now necessary for our staff ,” said Lodewyk. “This policy is about doing what we can to protect our employees, our community and our healthcare systems. It is about reducing the impacts on our already over-crowded hospitals where healthcare workers are working tirelessly as they continue to navigate this pandemic without judgement or hesitation. But we all must do our part too, and this policy is one step our staff at The City of Red Deer can take in the effort to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The policy will be monitored throughout the pandemic and adjusted as needed. It will be reviewed and evaluated every year following that.

The City of Red Deer implemented the COVID-19 Immunization Policy for employees and volunteers.

1. Why is The City implementing the COVID-19 Immunization Policy?
The City is implementing this policy to provide an added layer of protection for our staff to keep them and our community healthy while also protecting our healthcare system. Evidence-based data shows being fully immunized is an effective way to reduce the risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19. The City will use every reasonable precaution to safeguard employees from the risks of COVID-19.

2. Who is required to be immunized?
The COVID-19 Immunization Policy applies to all City of Red Deer employees and volunteers, with the exception of temporary workers hired solely for an election, and is not intended to replace/reduce any current departmental COVID Immunization/Vaccination Policies or Provincial/organizational COVID-19 measures in place.

3. Will new hires have the same requirements?

Yes, new employees will have to comply with the COVID-19 Immunization Policy.

4. Which policy does Emergency Services staff need to follow?

Emergency Services staff covered by the Emergency Services Department Administrative Policy – COVID-19: Mandatory Vaccination will be required to comply with the Emergency Services Policy. Emergency Services staff that the Department Administrative Policy does not apply to will follow the Corporate Administrative – Covid-19 Immunization Policy

5. Are contractors required to follow this policy?

The COVID-19 Immunization Policy applies only to City of Red Deer employees and volunteers. The City will not be requiring proof of vaccination from its contractors, suppliers or partners at this time, but we expect that all workers on our sites continue to adhere to all legislated public health restrictions including physical distancing, masking and not attending the worksite while experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. If this creates significant operational concerns for a specific contract situation, the contract manager is encouraged to discuss with Legal Services to determine if there may be other options for working a requirement into a current or upcoming contract.

6. What is the deadline be fully immunized?

All employees are required to be Fully Immunized against COVID-19 with a COVID-19 vaccine series by Sunday, November 28, 2021. This timeline allows a reasonable amount of time for unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated staff to schedule and receive the required doses by the deadline. Below are timelines, depending on whether receiving a single-dose or multi-dose vaccine.
a. Single Dose: Must be vaccinated on or before November 13, 2021 to be fully immunized by November 28, 2021.
b. Two Dose Vaccine Series: Must receive first dose on or before Friday October 15, 2021. A second dose must be scheduled on or before November 13, 2021 to be fully immunized by November 28, 2021.

7. What if an employee is already immunized?

Staff who are fully immunized can submit their immunization records to Human Resources, preferably as soon as possible but no later than November 19, 2021.

8. Is The City providing time off work for employees to get vaccinated?

Yes, employees are able to take up to three (3) hours paid time to get each dose of COVID-19 vaccination as per the Provincial vaccination pay legislation.

9. What are the approved vaccinations?

A list of the Health Canada approved vaccinations can be found here COVID-19 Vaccines: Authorized vaccines – Canada.ca.

10. What if an employee intends to get vaccinated, but will miss the deadline?

Any CORD employee that is not Fully Immunized by November 28, 2021 or has not provided proof of being Fully Immunized will be required to comply with COVID-19 rapid antigen testing requirements at their own cost.

11. If an employee has already had COVID-19, are they considered fully immunized in accordance with the COVID-19 Immunization Policy?

No, to be considered fully immunized employees must have:

• received two doses of a vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a two dose COVID-19 vaccine series or one dose of a vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a one dose COVID-19 vaccine series; and
• had fourteen days elapse since the date on which the person received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada of a two dose series or one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine considered valid by Health Canada in a one dose vaccine series.

12. What happens if an employee is not fully immunized by November 28, 2021?

Employees who are not fully vaccinated by November 28, 2021 will need to comply with ongoing COVID-19 rapid antigen testing requirements at the employee’s own cost.

13. What if an employee cannot get immunized?

Employees who are not able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine for a documented medical exemption or reason related to a protected ground set out in the Alberta Human Rights Act, can request accommodation through the Human Resource department.

14. What if an employee chooses to not get immunized?

Employees who decline the vaccine or decline disclosure of immunization status will need to submit ongoing COVID-19 rapid antigen testing results within 72 hours of the start of shifts, at the employee’s own cost, on their own time, starting on Monday, November 29, 2021.

15. What if an employee does not comply with the policy?

Any employee refusing to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

16. What if an employee falsifies information?

Any employee providing false or misleading information, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

17. Is the COVID-19 Immunization Policy going to change in the future?

The policy will be monitored throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to be determine if or when changes are made.

18. What other new workplace safety measures is CORD considering and/or implementing?

The City will continue to closely monitor its COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy and the evolving public health information and context, to ensure that it continues to optimally protect the health and safety of employees in the workplace and the public that they serve. If it is determined that additional precautions are necessary, CORD may decide to deploy new measures to protect employees and the public from COVID-19, and may amend this policy accordingly and/or
communicate the required precautions to impacted employees.

19. Does being fully immunized exempt employees from pre-shift symptom screening and other workplace controls (wearing a mask, physical distancing, frequent hand sanitizing, etc.) while in the workplace?

No. Employees who are fully immunized or who have an approved exemption are still required to adhere to all other City of Red Deer workplace COVID-19 hazard controls. This policy applies an added layer of protection for our City of Red Deer staff, but does not eliminate the risk of spread on it’s own. We will maintain current Provincial and organizational measures in place until further notice.

20. Will the City be offering rapid antigen testing?

The City will not be offering on-site testing.

21. Does the COVID-19 Immunization Policy apply to members of City Council?

No, this policy does not apply to The City of Red Deer Mayor or Council members. Council would need to pass a resolution to impose a policy for themselves.

22. With the upcoming election, when would Council be able to consider implementing a policy for themselves?

As there will be a new Council following the municipal election on October 18, there would not be any consideration of implementing a policy for City Council until the new Council has been sworn in.

 

City of Red Deer

Red Deer RCMP and City of Red Deer introduce Integrated Downtown Policing Unit

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News release from Red Deer RCMP

Today the Red Deer RCMP’s Downtown Patrol Unit officially welcomed their two newest policing partners to the unit; two Community Peace Officers (CPO) with enhanced duties.

“The addition of these two new CPO resources will enhance our policing presence, improve safety, and have a positive impact on the downtown overall,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

The pilot project is a joint initiative between the Red Deer RCMP, City of Red Deer Municipal Policing Services, and the Government of Alberta. The Province enhanced CPOs’ authorities to allow them to investigate certain criminal code files including Theft under $5000 and Mischief under $5000.

“In some respects, they will have comparable duties to their RCMP counterparts. They will investigate incidents, collect evidence, and provide proactive and responsive enforcement of City bylaws, provincial statutes and some criminal codes,” says Peter Puszka, Municipal Policing Superintendent. The two CPOs will also have access to policing tools and databases not typically available to Peace Officers.

Since 2018, Red Deer’s downtown has had a dedicated Downtown Patrol Unit (DPU), focused on improving safety through increased police visibility, proactive enforcement, decreasing property crime and criminal activity, and developing relationships with the residents, businesses and social agencies downtown.

“Our downtown unit has been doing a tremendous job with such a substantial mandate, and they’re really making an impact in our downtown core,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

In 2021, the DPU conducted 2,219 investigations of which 64% were self-generated files identified during proactive patrols, and the other 36% were in response to calls from the community. This led to 784 arrests, 493 Criminal Code charges, 470 weapon seizures, 37 ounces of illegal drugs seized and 1,061 tickets issued.

During the RCMP’s latest community consultations and survey, participants indicated that there were still issues about the perception of safety in the downtown, and that safety was a barrier to visiting the downtown.

“Council and I are committed to working towards the enhancement and revitalization of our downtown,” says Mayor Ken Johnston. “This innovative, one-of-a-kind initiative will increase feelings of safety and security amongst those working, living and enjoying our downtown.”

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City of Red Deer

City reaching out to tax payers about location for permanent homeless shelter

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Public participation about permanent shelter site criteria approved

Within the next month, the community will have an opportunity to share their input on the site criteria for a future permanent shelter site. Council approved this direction during their Council meeting last night, following extensive conversations around formal roles and responsibilities and opportunity for collaboration outside a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the province.

“While site selection is not part of the formal agreement between The City and the Province, we believe that the Province will support a recommendation in good spirit as part of a shared responsibility to providing shelter services in our community,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “When citizens come to the table to discuss criteria, we ask that they come with an open mind. Consider all the factors in selecting a location, not just proximity to your home, your business, your property. The permanent shelter will not be what we currently have, it will be an integrated shelter for our vulnerable population to access services that will support them on their journey to permanent housing.”

Administration will begin a public participation strategy and begin implementation within the coming weeks. The resolution approved by Council outlined the following deadlines:

  • June 20, 2022: conduct timely, strategic, solution-focused community engagement about site criteria prior to this date. Inclusive of in-person and online opportunities to provide input to be promoted.
  • July 18, 2022: Council to agree to a location to recommend to the Province on or before this date.

“We are beginning public participation based on the understanding our community wants to help us to address shelter needs.  We are starting with a clean slate when it comes to actual location,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “We recognize that some citizens will want to propose specific locations but we want to dig deeper to understand why.  We will be asking further questions – why do they think that site is a good option, what does it have that would make it the right place and see how that aligns or builds upon the criteria we already have in place.”

In the coming weeks, The City will share public participation opportunities with the community through social media, local advertising, website updates and email notifications. If residents would like to be added to the email list for updates on the public participation and general permanent shelter information, please email [email protected]. More information about the permanent shelter process can be found at www.reddeer.ca/shelter.

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