Halton police spending up to $8,000 per week in COVID-19 testing in Burlington, Oakville, Milton

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November 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm

The Halton Police service is currently paying about $8,000 per week in COVID-19 testing staff who have not proven they’re vaccinated.

The board has committed to continue paying for testing every second day until December 31, but no decision has yet been made for January.

The issue came up at last week’s monthly Halton Police Board monthly meeting.

According to Chief Stephen Tanner, about 10 per cent of Halton Regional Police Services staff, both sworn and civilian, are either not vaccinated or haven’t attested to their vaccination status.

At the meeting, Tanner outlined the decision Halton police made about vaccinations.

“We did not go the mandatory route, unlike some other police services around the province,” he said.

“We have around 100 who are not vaccinated, or don’t want to say, and they’ve just entered the phase now where they have to have a test done at Shoppers Drug Mart two out of every four days.”

The cost for the tests is about $80 per week.

Tanner said there have been 31 COVID-19 cases among all 1,100 staff throughout the pandemic. He said there’s been no confirmation of any at-work transmissions.

He said the current cost of providing tests is not a major issue for the force.

“I don’t see it as being significant at this point in time. Some of the 100 aren’t in the workplace.”

The chief said there has been no commitment to continue to pay for the tests past January but ultimately that decision will be dealt with by all the stakeholders, including the police union and the board.

In the case that someone refuses the testing, they would be subject to being put on an unpaid leave of absence.

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