Chatham-Kent Civic Centre, July 23, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)Chatham-Kent Civic Centre, July 23, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

COVID vaccination debate rears its head at CK Council again

A healthy discussion about COVID-19 vaccination requirements is expected at Chatham-Kent council Monday evening.

Councillor Conor Allin is expected to formally introduce a motion to fully suspend the vaccination verification and testing policy for Council and committee members.

If approved, the new policy would not require new Councillors or committee members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo testing as a condition to participate in municipal business on municipal premises.

The current COVID-19 vaccine policy for Councillors and committee members was approved on October 4, 2021, but the vaccine verification and testing policy for staff and contractors is currently suspended until further notice. New hires must still provide proof of vaccination subject to exemptions due to protections under the Human Rights Code.

Allin made his intentions known at the November 21, 2022 meeting through a notice of motion and wanted Council to vote on the controversial issue that night without public notification, but Councillor Anthony Ceccacci stepped in and said the vote should not be rammed through the same night it is introduced. He said instead, it should be held at the next Council meeting December 5, 2022.

"I think through the whole election process one thing that everybody focused on was transparency. Heard that loud and clear from the many conversations that we had. So, completely okay with the notice of motion, but I just think from a transparency standpoint, it would be beneficial to come back like every other notice of motion," said Ceccacci. "So, definitely won't be supporting it without going through the proper protocol."

Councilor Lauren Anderson seconded the motion to waive the rules and allow the vote on November 21, 2022, but it failed 11-7.

The seven council members who voted in favour of the dealing with the issue on November 21, 2022 were Councillors Lauren Anderson, Connor Allin, Michael Bondy, Ryan Doyle, Amy Finn, Rhonda Jubenville, and Steve Pinsonneault.

Voting against was Councillors Carmen McGregor, Brock McGregor, Melissa Harrigan, Anthony Ceccacci, Trevor Thompson, Marjorie Crew, Aaron Hall, Jamie McGrail, Alysson Storey, John Wright, and Mayor Darrin Canniff.

Monday night's Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in CK Council Chambers.

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