City firefighters, paramedics must disclose vaccination status: memo

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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is asking its employees to disclose their vaccination status, according to an internal department memo leaked to the Free Press.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/09/2021 (385 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is asking its employees to disclose their vaccination status, according to an internal department memo leaked to the Free Press.

The change in policy was announced by Marc Savard, district chief of paramedic operations, in a department-wide memo late Friday.

The reversal came one day after the City of Winnipeg disclosed it was not tracking vaccination status for public-facing employees, including police, paramedics, firefighters and bus drivers, following inquiries from the Free Press.

A third-party investigation found 'implicit racial bias' against the patient and 'racial animus' against the paramedic (a person of colour) likely impacted the actions of firefighters that night. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“Effective Monday, Sept. 13, the online COVID-19 fitness for duty screening questionnaire is updated based on current provincial criteria. A major change is the consideration of vaccination status when Occupational Health review the answers on the form,” Savard wrote.

“The updated online questionnaire now includes a top section which is mandatory for everyone to complete, and a lower section that only personnel not fully vaccinated are required to complete.”

It remains unclear if the city will follow other Canadian municipalities in mandating two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for public-facing jobs.

On Aug. 24, the Toronto Police Service announced a vaccine mandate; one day later, Hamilton police followed suit.

In late August, the Manitoba government announced all provincial employees who work with vulnerable populations must be fully immunized by Oct. 31 or submit to regular testing.

In his memo to staff, Savard said all WFPS personnel will be required to fill out the form at the beginning of every shift, but that additional information will be expected from those who remain unvaccinated.

“This process continues to be valuable for the safety of our workplace,” Savard wrote.

It remains unclear at this time if other civic departments, including the Winnipeg Police Service, will follow in the footsteps of the WFPS and ask employees to disclose their vaccination status.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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