By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
An attempt by rookie councillor Rhonda Jubenville to put the decision-making process around mandatory vaccines for municipal staff into the hands of council was defeated in a 12 to 5 vote Jan. 16.
Jubenville’s motion, seconded by South Kent Coun. Ryan Doyle, saw yes votes coming from Chatham councillors Conor Allin and Michael Bondy, as well as East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault.
There was no discussion on the actual vote, however three deputations speaking out against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines were presented earlier in the meeting.
Jubenville’s motion did not mention COVID-19 vaccinations specifically. In part the motion stated that “further vaccination employment policies be decided upon collaboratively between Chatham-Kent council and the Chatham-Kent Management Team through consultation and majority agreement through dialogue and council votes.”
In her comments, Jubenville said she believes Chatham-Kent needs to be pro-active and align with other Ontario jurisdictions where vaccine decisions were made solely by council.
“Unless otherwise mandated by our province, I feel it is prudent that any decision regarding the mandating or policy surrounding mandates or enforcement should be decided upon by our voting system,” Jubenville said.