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Staff vaccination policy remains in place at the City of Greater Sudbury

The city has dropped all vaccine requirements among visitors to municipal facilities, but the city’s staff vaccine mandate remains in place, with 34 employees facing termination

While vaccine mandates are dropped across the province, the City of Greater Sudbury is holding onto theirs, at least when it comes to municipal staff.

“The policy that we’ve established since last September for employees to be fully vaccinated – that is two doses – remains in effect and isn’t anticipated to change,” city CAO Ed Archer told local media in a virtual media conference following Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

“By now we’ve been through the process of engaging with those staff who still needed to complete the vaccination process.”

In emailed correspondence with, a city spokesperson further clarified that the Occupational Health and Safety Act obliges the city to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

On this front, they note that vaccinations are “one of the best ways to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on individuals, communities and the health-care system” and that the vaccine mandate is a “reasonable rule related to employees, prospective employees and contractors doing work in city facilities.”

The city’s vaccine mandate for staff took effect on Nov. 15 following a two-month warning period, at which time 139 employees were put on leave as a result of remaining unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. 

By Jan. 20, this number dwindled to 46 employees, of whom 20 indicated that they were in the process of becoming compliant. On Wednesday, the city confirmed that 34 employees had been deemed absent without an approved leave of absence because they did not meet the requirements of the vaccine mandate policy. 

“Absence without leave is time limited in our contracts and employment agreements, and exceeding that time limit results in termination of employment,” according to a city statement. 

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, the city’s elected officials voted to rescind its vaccine mandate for visitors to municipal facilities, although those renting facilities may still require proof of vaccination among those who attend their functions. 

The city’s policy exceeded the province’s vaccine mandate for indoor facilities, which have already been eliminated in the city’s latest round of loosened restrictions in accordance with the province’s reopening plan. The city’s policy, which applied to additional indoor municipal spaces where people spend longer periods of time in close proximity to one another, was removed on Tuesday “to maintain consistency and fairness to those using city facilities,” said Marie Litalien, the city’s director of communications and community engagement.

Tom Davies Square is scheduled to reopen for walk-in service on March 14.

This week, the province announced its plan to lift most mask mandates on March 21 and for the remaining public health orders to be lifted by April 27. reached out to the city’s communications department for comment on whether they planned on lifting mask requirements at municipal facilities, but they declined clarification at this time, noting that more details will come out in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the city is in the midst of a return to in-person work, with staff members expected to return to the office in a few waves over the course of the next three months beginning on March 14.

A return to council chambers for both elected officials and the general public is also being considered again for the first time since October. At the time, Mayor Brian Bigger invited city council to return to council chambers. The plan came to a swift end as the Omicron variant wove a path of destruction through the area, which resulted in more local COVID-related deaths between Jan. 1 and Feb. 9 of this year than in all of 2021 and 2020 combined. polled city council in September of last year and found there was an appetite for a return to council chambers at the time and for a blended virtual and in-person meeting structure to continue into the long term.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for 


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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