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Legal cost of Hamilton’s employee vaccination policy estimated at up to $7.4 million

The cost of pushing ahead with Hamilton’s employee vaccination policy, in the face of legal challenges and arbitration hearings, had been estimated at up to $7.4 million. Global News

The public gallery was cleared of spectators during the latest general issues committee meeting at Hamilton City Hall.

The action was taken following a series of outbursts on Thursday, as councillors were receiving an update on potential legal costs associated with Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccination policy for municipal employees.

Up to 264 city employees are facing termination or indefinite unpaid leave on Oct. 1, as a result of their vaccination status.

The cost to the city of proceeding with the mandatory vaccination policy is estimated at between $2.8 million and $7.4 million, based on a preliminary arbitration award involving Hamilton’s largest employees’ union.

Read more: Hamilton’s employee vaccination policy stays in place following tie vote (April 27, 2022)

Meeting chair Brad Clark cleared the gallery and called a recess, following a series of interruptions.

“Madam clerk, please indicate that we’re having a recess now. Have security clear the chambers,” Clark said.

He took the step after members of the public erupted in anger, following a speech by Ward 8 Coun. John Paul Danko, during which he called them “anti-vaxxers.”

“I will not be coerced!” one man hollered from the gallery, while another described himself as “vaccine-hesitant.”

Read more: 440 city of Hamilton employees still not in compliance with vaccination policy (May 20, 2022)

Unvaccinated municipal employees continue to have the vocal support of Ward 7 Coun. Esther Pauls.

“Who am I as a city councillor,” said Pauls, “to say take this medicine, because if you don’t you will not eat, you will not be able to afford a house, you will be out in the street?”

 

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